Poitou Charentes Places To Visit On Holiday

Futuroscope

Robots, Futuroscope, Vienne, Poitou Charentes, France

Hi-tech theme park north of Poitiers devoted to cinema and the moving image that attracts millions of visitors annually. We advise that you book your tickets online before you go and arrive as soon as the park opens. And don't forget the fabulous night-time spectacular.

Get involved in the action, dance with robots or let giant screen images play havoc with your senses including 3-D and 4-D shows.  Fun and mind-boggling excitement for all the family in a superb setting with amazing architecture.

Ile de Re

Exclusive and beautiful, Ile de Re is accessible via a 3km toll bridge from La Rochelle and makes a great venue for a day trip.

Discover this epitome of traditional, laid-back France, with pretty villages of green shuttered white cottages, yacht-filled harbours and long beaches of fine sand.

Watch flat-bottomed oyster boats set out from St Martin’s harbour. Rent bikes and enjoy 90km of cycle paths winding their way through pine forests, vineyards, nature reserves and salt marshes. And admire it all from atop the Baleines Lighthouse.

Ile de Re’s great climate and fresh clean air make it ideal for outdoor activities and watersports; horse riding, walking and bird-watching are all popular here too.

La Rochelle

One of the best natural harbours along the Atlantic coast, La Rochelle has long been a favourite holiday base and is a major sailing centre. The port is host to the largest floating annual boat show in Europe - the ‘Grande Pavois’.

Take a stroll around La Rochelle’s ancient walled town ending at the old port still guarded by 3 medieval towers, all of which can be visited. The marina has moorings for 3,500 yachts alongside traditional fishing boats, and the waterfront is vibrant with seafood restaurants, serving everything from oysters and clams to turbot and sea bass.

Do as the locals and take a glass of Pineau des Charentes as an aperitif. Children will love La Rochelle’s hi-tech Aquarium with over 10,000 marine animals and the town’s museums of automated puppets and models. Adults can enjoy picturesque shopping in the pedestrianised old town, including the outstanding market hall and arcades, once the site of an array of stalls and now home to some superb chic stores.

Angouleme

Situated on a hilltop with a superb view of the valley between the Charente and Anguienne rivers, Angouleme is surrounded by 3km of medieval ramparts. Visit the Romanesque St-Pierre Cathedral with its inspiring twelfth century façade.

Once famous for papermaking, Angouleme now has a centre - Centre National de la Bande Dessinee - showing the development of French print and film cartoons.

The town holds an annual international comic strip festival attracting visitors from all over the world. Look for the great Sunday market in place Victor-Hugo.

Royan

Royan was ‘the’ stylish resort in the nineteenth century and is credited with launching the fashion for sunbathing on its 5 sheltered sandy beaches.

Safe bathing has made Royan attractive to families and its excellent restaurants, large marina and 2 casinos ensure there is plenty too for just adults to enjoy.

Take a cruise between April and September to France’s oldest functioning lighthouse, the Cordouan lighthouse at the mouth of the Gironde River which was built in 1584. Make an excursion to the ‘Zoo de la Palmyre’ at Les Mathes, the second largest zoo in France, to see exotic animals such as snow leopards and red pandas.

Open all year, with free parking, wheelchair accessibility and sealion and parrot shows from April to the end of October.

St-Savin-sur-Gartempe

The main reason to visit St Savin-sur-Gartempe is for its Abbey-church built in the eleventh century which contains the finest set of Romanesque murals in France, if not the western world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The walls are covered with life-sized paintings depicting biblical scenes.

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