Top 10 Things to do in Poitiers
Poitiers is known for its beautiful Churches & ornamental Romanesque Cathedrals. This city is in western France and is a university city making its population youthful.
The medieval city has a rich history on the Queens, Dukes and counts of the region; to the well-maintained half-timber houses. Romanesque and Gothic palaces and cathedral in this city have a lot to tell behind the walls.
One church not to miss while in this city is the Notre-Dame-la-Grande, for Romanesque its façade.
This city is not only made of old historic architecture but also modern ones. The Futuroscope theme park is one place to go to for all science and innovation related fun activities.
One cannot visit a place and not indulge in local gastronomy. There are local wineries where you can sample the best of the land as well as the cheeses.
Poitiers is on the World Heritage list and definitely worth a visit. Here are the top 10 things to do in this beautiful historic city.
1. Go back in History at Musée Sainte-Croix
The Musée Sainte-Croix is the largest museum in Poitiers. This is the museum to go to for interesting prehistoric items.
You will get to see remnants of roman items such as the old city walls, beautiful paintings and sculptures. Poitevin Jean Monge was the architect who designed the building.
It was built in 1974 on the same foundation as Saint Croix Abbey, the church was moved to Saint-Benoît, Vienne. The building features a concrete and glass façade.
There are both permanent and temporary exhibitions at the museum. The permanent exhibitions showcase prehistoric and contemporary arts. Major works in this museum sculptures by Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin.
2. Visit the Futuroscope
This is among the top three popular theme parks in France. It has dazzled tourists and locals for more than 3 decades. Inside the theme park are simulators, rides and breath-taking presentations in IMAX 3D and 4D theatres.
The Futuroscope is a testament to the legacy of the Lumiere brothers from the 19th century. This park has impressive metal and glass structures featuring different shapes and dimensions.
One perk of going to this park is that the shows are scheduled, this means that you will have time to plan ahead. It is a fun park for everyone. More than 2 million people visit the park annually.
3. Explore the Church of Notre Dame
This is one church that needs to be on your to-do list while in Poitiers. The Romanesque Church of Notre Dame is a beautiful church at the centre of the city.
It is a 12th-century building that has beautiful murals decorating the interior. There are different light shows that are held inside during summer making look like a fairy-tale.
This church serves both as a collegial and parochial representative of the Catholic Diocese of Poitiers.
4. Enjoy a Picnic at Parc de Blossac
As one of the most beautiful parks in France; It is surrounded by some old city walls especially on the southern corner.
The park dates back to the 18th century when the Count of Blossac planned to have open spaces. It was initially a private garden before it was open to the people.
There are footpaths leading to the banks of Clain River. The park features French-style parterres and long avenues.
You will also see a romantic English garden with statues, flowerbeds, guinea pigs, parakeets and rabbits.
This is a good spot for a picnic, lazy strolls, a jog, cycling or for children to play. The small zoo at the park is worth checking out too.
5. Indulge in some unique French cultural and educational attractions at Espace Mendes France
This is the centre of scientific culture located at the centre of Poitier. Espace Mendes exhibits different business, research, results and methods.
Being a university city, educationists and researchers collaborated to create this centre. Today, the centre is used for technical culture and as a science institution.
There are annual film festivals such as the Festival of France. Visit this centre to see different creations, exhibitions and shows.
It was established in 1989 and is close to the cathedral. This unique centre is the best place to go for the artistic presentation of educational issues.
6. Checkout Baptistery of Saint John
This may be a small building in Poitiers but worth a visit. The Baptistery of Saint John is a historical building dating back to the 4th century. It is one of the oldest buildings in the city.
The baptistery has wall extensions from the 11th century decorated with beautiful murals. There is an information booklet that one gets at the entrance with information about the baptistery.
Total immersion baptisms used to be done in the octagonal pool under the frescoes back in the 17th century. It is the oldest religious building in France.
7. Admire Hôtel Fumé
This building is located along the Rue de la Chaîne street. It has several medieval half-timbered houses. These houses have beautiful timber frames and iron gaslights in the middle of the street.
The façade of Hotel Fume is one beautiful gothic mansion. It dates back to the 16th century when the city’s mayor commissioned it. Today, the building houses the University of Poitiers humanities department.
8. Go wine tasting in wine cellars and bars
The French are famous for their love for cheese, fine dining and good wine. It is therefore not a surprise to find trendy wine and tapas bars in Poitiers.
Wine cellars and bars in this city offer unique experiences and assemblages, such as the Chilean wine Salvaje. Sample other wines from France and Navarre.
Spanish tortilla, empanadas, artisan pâté, cheeses and charcuterie are some of the delicacies to enjoy.
9. Explore exotic plants at Jardin de Plantes
This Botanical Garden of Poitiers was created in 1869. It is part of the gardens of Hotel Dieu. There is plenty to see in this garden such as the different shrubs and trees, an ornamental lake, beautiful flower beds and well-manicured alleys.
The Tropical glasshouse in this garden is the main attraction. It is home to more than 150 species of plants. Bassac Parc and Rose Garden are beautiful places to stop by.
This garden was created for the students by their university professors. The plants and flowers in the garden are scientifically classified and named. You will see medicinal, aromatic and condiment plants.
10. Take a tour of Palais De Justice
The Palace of Justice today serves as the law courts. Centuries ago, the building was the office of the Counts of Poitou and Dukes of Aquitaine. Its dining hall is the highlight of the building.
Eleanor of Aquitaine was the one who constructed the dining hall in the 12th century. This dining hall is one of the largest in Europe.
Outside the building is a beautiful small garden with a plaque explaining the history of the building.
It is believed that Joan of Arc was questioned in this building before getting approved to join King Charles II.