The department of Vienne in Poitou Charentes is an area of endless fields of sunflowers and delightful countryside with an abundance of historic towns and villages.
A holiday in Vienne takes you to traditional France where lunches last long into the afternoon tasting regional delicacies under the hot sunshine - perhaps starting with a glass of local Loudon wine or Pineau des Charentes, made from fresh grape juice and eau-de-vie of Cognac, which makes a delicious aperitif served with iced soda water.
In contrast, the department of Vienne is also home to the famous theme park Futuroscope dedicated to film and the moving image. Mind-boggling special effects and some of the world’s largest screens make this fantastic fun for all the family.
Poitiers, the regional capital of Poitou Charentes since Gallo-Roman times, lies just a few miles to the south. Its modern suburbs give no hint of the pretty historic centre with its lively markets, outdoor café culture, timbered houses and beautiful central gardens.
Poitiers holds riches for art and history lovers in her Romanesque churches such as St-Hilaire, amazing carvings on the west front of Notre-Dame-la-Grande and fine Romanesque stained glass in the Crucifixion window at the Cathedral of Saint-Pierre.
The Rivers Gartempe and Anglin flow north towards the Loire through valleys popular for walking, canoeing and white water rafting as well as for those following the tourist route of famous churches and chateaux.
The Unesco World Heritage Site at St Savin-sur-Gartempe has the finest set of Romanesque murals in France and no visit to Vienne would be complete without being captivated by Angles-sur-L’Anglin, classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France, with its romantic medieval fortress, chateau, and silk and linen workshops that once produced goods for royal families.