Poitiers is the capital city of the Poitou-Charentes region of central France. It is a pleasant, relatively small city of around 85,000 inhabitants that has strong medieval roots. It is situated 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.

Access

Poitiers is some 350 km due south of Paris, and 120 km east of the Atlantic coast. It can easily be reached by high-speed train (a little over 1 hour) or by bus from Paris. The train station and bus station are in the same building.

Upon arrival, the city is to the west of the train/bus station, on the hill. Climb up the stairs.

You can also visit nearby cities by local buses from the train/bus station.

Sightseeing

There isn't a lot to do at Poitiers, but it is a pleasant small city, and visitors will find relaxed atmosphere, especially compared to Paris. Poitiers is also a good base to visit nearby towns and cities. These days, a lot of retirees move to Poitiers, attracted by its warm and climate (snow is rare).

  • City Centre Has a small square in front of the City Hall is surrounded by cafes, where you can sit down with a glass of wine or coffee or get something to eat. 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.
  • St. Pierre Cathedral Has organ performances.
  • Church of Notre Dame Virgin Mary is the Patron Saint of France, so every city of town will have a church named Notre Dame (Our Lady). Poitiers' Notre Dame has light shows some evenings after dark.
  • The Futuroscope, located 15 km north of the town.

Lodging

See the Listing of the Hotels in Poitiers