Poitou-Charentes: a region of glorious contrast

Poitou-Charentes is a region of contrast, balancing the natural beauty of the Atlantic coast and the Cognac country along the river Charente, with an array of activities and sights that will delight visitors of all ages.

It could be a trip of activity, enjoying the endless cycle tracks, picturesque walking routes or array of golf courses. Or perhaps a relaxing break, taking in the Romanesque churches, strolling along the 110km of beaches or simply gazing out across the Atlantic amid the beauty of the medieval coastal towns. And with Poitiers’ Futuroscope theme park, all the family are guaranteed a trip to remember.

This stunning area of France is easily and quickly accessible from England, either by boat, road or just a three-and-a-half hour train journey from London. All of the major budget airlines fly to either La Rochelle or Poitiers, the two highlights of the area.

That such a stunning and diverse area can so easily be reached is incredible. A must for any visitor is the port town of La Rochelle. Founded over 1000 years ago, the town has thrived, from its beginnings as a town of fishermen and salt merchants, through its expansion as a destination for wine exporters, to its position today as the third most visited town in France. Its rich history continues to captivate visitors; vestiges of the medieval walls remain, while the Old Town is characterised by the private mansions of old ship owners and their irresistible facades. Among the four ports in La Rochelle is the Old Port, complete with its iconic towers. Minimise Port is renowned among pleasure seekers across Europe as 'the place' to dock. With 3,500 slips there is always lots to see, and never more so than during September’s famous European nautical show ‘Grand Pavois’.

Just a short distance away is the town of Poitiers, affectionately know as the ‘Town of Hundred Bells’ due to the 24 parishes and 30 monasteries found among the boulevards and Haussmann-style roads within its boundaries. It is a town the balances the new and the old. Famous battles were fought here centuries ago, while the theme park Futuroscope provides the premier attraction. There are over 30 experiences at the family oriented attraction that entice visitors to see the world in a different way. Experiences including ‘Arthur, the 4D adventure’ and ‘The 8th continent’ (opening 9 April) will have children and parents alike beguiled.

Poitou-Charentes is a region of contrasts, a destination in which visitors of any age will agree is not to be missed.