Try water sports, hiking and biking on the beautiful coast of the Charente; walking through the old cities; port and cognac tastings. The Poitou-Charentes region in western France satisfies lovers of the coast, culture and gastronomy.
Culinary delights can be savoured here in Poitou-Charentes. The town of Cognac owes its international fame to the famous liqueur and the city is worth a visit. Going through the cobbled streets of the old town, you can admire the old reworked and enriched buildings along with the finest indoor markets. During the walk you will be surprised by the houses with facades blackened by microscopic fungi generated from the vapours of alcohol. If you love the more challenging walks the Camino de Santiago de Compostela is rich in abbeys and Romanesque churches.
Poitiers is undoubtedly one of Frances most renowned cities for Romanesque art. More than any other, the church of Notre-Dame-la-Grande (the eleventh and twelfth centuries) is a masterpiece of religious art with beautiful stained glass above the main door. The Church of Saint-Hilaire, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is part of the itinerary of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. 10 km from Poitiers, the Futuroscope Park invites you to experience thrills thanks to its spectacular attractions that make use of the latest technologies; 3D cinema and huge dynamic screens.
Average summer temperature: 26 degrees
Port towns, vineyards, hills and marshes
Bottles of Cognac and 'Pineau des Charentes', goat cheese and butter
On the peninsula of Arvert, at the foot of the ocean and across from the lighthouse of Cordovan, emerges La Palmyre. This coastline boasts 30 km of wonderful natural bay and 8,000 hectares of forest. Here you can try to ride the waves, hiking, biking or horse riding. La Palmyre Zoo is a beautiful park with about 1,600 animals, the ideal place to take the kids!
The best shopping in this region is Poitiers, especially around the town hall. Here you can buy accessories for the home, clothing, shoes and books. A good area is also the Rue de la Cathédrale, where you will find Ilot des Cordeliers, a shopping mall with 40 stores.
The island of Oléron is the largest French island after Corsica. In a large eighteenth-century house you find the museum of Saint Pierre d'Oléron. This museum is dedicated to arts and popular traditions of the area; fishing, viticulture and breeding of oysters. To the east of the island you can admire the famous Fort Boyard.
The region of Poitou-Charentes offers many specialities, particularly from the sea. Mussels, snails and eels prepared with red wine are a must! In addition, thanks to the many goats, in this region you can eat goat cheese; the divine ‘Chabichou du Poitou’.