Our Hotels in Poitiers
By turn Poitiers was an early Christian centre and major stop on the Santiago de Compostela (Way of Saint James) pilgrimage route into northern Spain, domain of the Visigoths and power base for the great ducal dynasties of Aquitaine and Poitiers. Today this forward-looking city is a successful commercial and communications hub with an endearing network of cobbled streets at its historic heart, where the layers of time can be peeled back to reveal great architectural treasures and landmarks. It's very much a 21st-century city too, where cosy little squares brim with student-filled bars, elegant indie boutiques and lively produce markets – and its hinterlands are home to one of France's most popular theme parks, Futuroscope. Whether you're on a family city trip to Futuroscope or have a schedule of meetings with the city's biotech giants, your stay in Poitiers with us will be comfortable and convenient.
The best place to start a walk around Poitiers' bite-sized heart is the expansive Place de la Cathédrale, home of Poitiers tourism office and overlooked by the first of the city's trio of religious treasures: the Cathédrale St-Pierre was commissioned by Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of France and one of the 12th century's most influential and powerful political characters. The result of her beneficence is a breathtaking, multi-towered edifice with glittering stained-glass windows and a façade liberally studded with gargoyles. A step away across the piazza is the multi-sided, butter-coloured Baptistère Saint-Jean, thought to be one of France's oldest religious monuments, with origins dating back to the mid 4th century AD – there are stone tombs in its baptistery from around that time, and its interior walls are lined with faded early-Christian frescoes. Also numbering among these major Poitiers religious attractions is the Église Notre-Dame-la-Grande, a Romanesque delight with an intricately carved façade, several stumpy spires and brightly patterned columns in the nave. Cobbled streets surround these three icons, uniting them with landmarks like the monumental Palais de Justice and the soaring Gothic-inspired Palais des Comtes de Poitou (Duke's Palace of Poitiers). Another great edifice built at the behest of Eleanor of Aquitaine, this was once the splendid palace of the influential Aquitaine dukes, and today provides a stunning backdrop for civic events and festivals. You can learn more about the backstory of this charming city at Poitiers' Musée Sainte-Croix, somewhat brutal in its concrete exterior but possessor of riveting displays of Roman and religious artefacts reflecting the city's historic significance.
Other Things to Do Around Poitiers
For a breath of fresh air in elegant surrounds, we suggest a stroll along tree-lined avenues dotted with fountains in Poitiers' Blossac Park, or an al fresco chocolat chaud in a Place du Maréchal-Leclerc terrace café for the chance to admire its magnificent Belle Époque and art deco mansions. Other outdoors activities to consider include strolls and cycle rides along the Clain riverbanks, and punting adventures on canals through the wetlands of Marais Poitevin Regional Natural Park or Brenne Natural Regional Park, both near Poitiers. While you're staying in Poitiers, another fascinating day out is to pleasantly sleepy Montmorillon, about 50 minutes by car and the self-proclaimed "Cité de l'Écrit" (book town) of France, for a rummage for rare tomes in antiquarian booksellers. However, Futuroscope theme park (20 minutes' drive), is destination number-one for most families staying at our Poitiers hotels. Considered one of the best family attractions in France, beyond its shiny metal carapace you'll find an abundance of startlingly realistic 4D simulator adventures and interactive rides with themes inlcuding space travel, time machines and robotics. Most kids adore the giant slides or splashing about in the aquatic garden, and fun-filled family days can be rounded off at spectacular multimedia light shows in the evening.
Best Poitiers Restaurants
Poitiers cuisine is robust, using local produce like rich Charentes-Poitou butter, walnut oil, Chabichou du Poitou goat's cheese and Farci Poitevin, a local pâté made with green vegetables and bacon. Pick all this produce up at the market on Place Notre-Dame, along with sweet treats like Montmorillon macarons and Broyé shortbread. Partner these regional flavours with wines from Haut-Poitou vineyards: Gamay or Cabernet Sauvignon reds and Sauvignon Blanc whites. Where to eat? There are plenty of cosy bistros in Poitier's cobbled streets, side by side with award-winning restaurants known for their haute cuisine, plus trendy cafés populated by students and serving falafels, sushi or pizza.
Best Poitiers Hotels
When it comes to choosing Poitiers hotels, we've covered all eventualities. Arriving on a late flight? Stay in one of our well-priced airport hotels so you're fresh work or sightseeing in the morning. Visitors to Futuroscope can stay in 4-star Poitiers family hotels – one with a swimming pool and another with coworking facilities in case you're travelling on business – as well as several budget options. Prefer to be at hotels in city-centre Poitiers? We have a 4-star property with a gourmet restaurant as well as more affordable accommodation at hotels in city-centre Poitiers.
Getting to Poitiers
Arriving and departing Poitiers is a breeze. A couple of kilometres west of the city, Poitiers-Biard Airport is a hub for budget airlines from across Europe, while high-speed TGV rail services depart the Gare de Poitiers to Paris for Eurostar connections, plus other French cities including Strasbourg, Bordeaux and Lyon.
When to Visit Poitiers
The city has a mild climate, with little rainfall in the summer, so there's never a wrong time to visit Poitiers (bring a jacket for cool winter days) – and indeed the tourism office on Place Charles de Gaulle stays open all year round. A busy diary of arts and film festivals keeps visitors coming throughout the year too.