Poitou-Charentes

General Info

Regional Map
Conseil Régional
Tourism: Comité Régional du Tourisme
Capital: Poitiers
Departments: Charente, Charente-Maritime, Deux-Sèvres, and Vienne
Arrondissements-14, Cantons-157, Communes-1,464
Population: 1,734,945 (2008 est.)
France Poitou-Charentes map

Overview

Poitou-Charentes Angles-sur-l'Anglin
Poitou-Charentes is actually two regions in one - the inland Poitou and the west-coastal department of Charente-Maritime which is a holiday area that has the majority of the tourism. The coast of Charente is one of France's sunniest climates and is comparable to that of Provence. The region has seemingly unending coastline and the historic ports of La Rochelle and Rochefort are only rivaled by Poitiers in the northeast part of the region. Poitiers was the center of the English victory over the French in the Hundred Years War of 1356.
In present day, it is home to the family attraction, Futuroscope, a virtual-reality theme park. The town of Cognac is to the southwest and is the center of the highly-regulated brandy industry. Poitou is believed to be the origin of most of the Acadian and Cajun populations in North America which are now found mainly in New Brunswick and Louisiana and emigrated from the region in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Poitou-Charentes Departmental Information

Notable Towns and Sights in Poitou-Charentes

Aigrefeuille d'Aunis (Charente-Maritime) is located between La Rochelle, Rochefort and Surgères France Poitou Charentes Aigrefeuille
                            d'Aunis
Angles-sur-l'Anglin (Vienne) is an extremely beautiful town which lies on the river Anglin and is dominated by its castle ruins and old watermill. The town is famous for its tradition of fine needlework. It is one of Le Plus Beaux Villages de France. France Poitou Charentes Angles-sur-Anglin
Angoulême (Charente) is dominated by the many-times-restored 12th-century (photo) which has a unique Romanesque frieze on the façade. The restorer, Paul Abadie, also worked on the Hôtel de Ville (town hall) which has retained two towers from the chateau of the Counts of Angoulême. The town is surrounded with boulevards which allow nice views in all directions. France Poitou Charentes Angoulême
Aubeterre-sur-Dronne (Charente) gets its name from the fact that it is carved out of the white, chalky cliff (Alba Terra) overlooking the Dronne River. One main attraction in this pretty village is the monolithic cathedral-like Saint Jean church which is 88 feet long (27 m) and 52 feet (16 m) and was carved out of the limestone cliff halfway up. (photo). It is one of Le Plus Beaux Villages de France. France Poitou-Charentes Aubeterre-sur-Dronne
Chatellerault (Vienne) was a center of sword and arms manufacturing for the French government. The "Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Chatellerault" was one of France's four main infantry weapon manufacturers operated by the French government. It was created in 1819 and closed as a weapons manufacturing facility in 1968. Ville de Chatellerault and Tourisme Chatellerault. France Poitou-Charentes Chatellerault
Chauvigny (Vienne) overlooks the broad Vienne River and has five fortified medieval castles built from local stone. Notable is the restored 12th-century Eglise Saint Pierre and its decorated capitals with biblical scenes and various monsters. (photo). France Poitou-Charentes Chauvigny
Cognac (Charente) is situated on the banks of the Charente River with most of the town on the left bank. The town has medieval quarter (Vieux Cognac) with unusual buildings from the 15th to 18th-centuries. The Cognac vineyards overlap into the departments of Charente, Charente-Maritime and Deux-Sévres, but the brandy itself must be produced in the town and according to strictly-defined regulations to bare the name. Cognac is distilled from white wine and matured in oak casks for years to obtain its distinctive flavor. The area also produces the aperitif Pineau de Charente. From April to November it is possible to visit the various producers for tastings. Tourism-Cognac France Poitou-Charentes Cognac
Futuroscope (Vienne) is a theme park based upon multimedia, cinematographic, and audio-visual techniques of the future. It has several 3D cinemas along with other attractions and shows. It is located 4 miles (7 km) north of Poitiers. France Poitou-Charentes Futuroscope
Haut-Val-de-Sèvre is located on the banks of the Sèvre Niortaise river and is comprised of twenty-two communes. France Poitou-Charentes Haut-Val-de-Sèvre
Ile de Ré (Charente-Maritime) is an island off the west coast of France near La Rochelle on the northern side of the Pertuis d'Antioche strait. It gets as many hours of sunshine as the Mediterranean coast and is a favorite destination for families with its shallow yet cool water, campgrounds, and many beaches. It is connected to La Rochelle by a 1.8 mile (2.9 km) bridge built in 1988. France Poitou Charente Ile de Re bridge
Ile d'Oléron (Charente-Maritime) is a popular holiday resort west of Rochefort and the second largest island in France after Corsica. Webcams-Ile d'Oleron. France Poitou Charente Ile d'Oleron
La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime) is a commercial center and its main feature is the Old Port which is lined with cafés and restaurants as well as old military towers. It is the largest yachting center on France's Atlantic coast, yet is a family-friendly town with its many fine-sand beaches on the nearby Ile de Ré. France Poitou-Charentes la Rochelle

Niort (Deux-Sèvres) is a large and prosperous industrial town on the Sèvre Niortaise River. Notable here is the 12th-century Château de Niort medieval castle which is now referred to as the Donjon de Niort. It consists of two square towers, linked by a 13th to 15th-century building overlooking the Vieux Ponts and was built by Henry II and Richard the Lion-Heart. The Musée du Donjon in Niort houses Bronze Age, Gallo-Roman, and Middle Ages exhibits. France Poitou-Charentes Le donjon de Niort
Poitiers (Vienne) is the capital of the Vienne department and has some remarkable Romanesque churches. Notable are the colorful Notre Dame-la-Grande (photo) and the 12th-century Cathédrale Saint Pierre (photo) which has the spectacular organ from 1787 built by François-Henri Clicquot and is considered his most important instrument (photo). Also in Poitiers are the historically important Palais de Justice, Eglise Sainte Radegonde, and the 4th-century Baptistère Saint Jean. Poitiers is on the Clain River and three of France's greatest battles were fought near here. France Poitou-Charentes Poitiers
Rochefort (Charente-Maritime ) is located near the islands of Île de Ré and Ile d'Oléron and is considered a rival, historically speaking, of La Rochelle. It was built in the 17th-century with the intention of being the greatest shipyard in France. The Musée de la Marine has a worthwhile display of models of the ships built here. Alternate site: Pays Rochefortais France Poitou-Charentes Rochefort
Royan (Charente-Maritime) has been a seaside resort since the 1890's and was rebuilt in the 1950's as part of an urban renewal program. It is located at the confluence of the Gironde Estuary and the Atlantic Ocean south of Ile de Ré and Ile d'Oléron. France Poitou-Charentes Royan Beach
Saint-Martin-de-Ré (Charente-Maritime) is a picturesque fishing village and is the main port on the Ile de Ré (photo). The village is enveloped by late 17th-century fortifications by the French engineer Vauban who was commissioned to review and overhaul the island's defenses. As a result, Saint Martin was enclosed by extensive modern walls and embankments. Today, visitors can stroll along some of the ramparts or the quays along the port. There is also a museum here- Le Musée Ernest Cognacq de Saint-Martin-de-Ré.
(aerial photo)
France Poitou-Charentes Saint Martin de Re
Saint Savin-sur-Gartempe (Vienne) has an impressive 11th-century Romanesque Abbey (photo) that houses many beautiful 12th-century frescoes. Its long nave and slender spire are quite distinctive and the Abbey appears original despite being restored by monks after being burned during the Hundred Years War in 1356. France Poitou-Charentes Saint Savin-sur-Gartempe
Saintes (Charente-Maritime) was for many centuries had the only bridge passage in the lower Charente for pilgrims heading to Santiago de Compostela. It has an unusually fine heritage of architecture including the Triumphal Arch of Germanicus (photo), the Abbaye aux Dames, the Eglise Saint Eutrope, Cathédrale Saint Pierre, and the 1st century Roman amphitheatre. France Poitou-Charentes Saint Pierre

Les Plus Beaux Villages in the Poitou-Charentes Region

Natural Parks in the Poitou-Charentes Region

Additional Resources for the Poitou-Charentes Region

Average Monthly Temperatures in the Poitou-Charentes Region

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