City Guide: visit Poitiers in 48 hours

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48-hour City Guide to Poitiers ©Bastien SAUVE - Agence Zebrelle

The Fontaine family, who live in Paris, decided to treat themselves to a parenthesis tourism in Poitiers for the weekend ! Poitiers will offer them a amazing land of discoveries and surprises. For two days, they slept in an old Jesuit chapel, slipped into the shoes of a Viking while exploring the city's rich heritage, took to the skies to take in 2000 years of history at a glance. , had a drink with your feet in the sand by the river… Romain, Amélie, Oscar and Élie give us their visit diary.

Friday: first steps in the city “of a hundred steeples”

16h - To begin to familiarize ourselves with the city, we decide to get lost in the streets. The first impression is the absence of a car. The historic center is almost entirely pedestrianized, a delight!
We decide to settle in one of the café terraces, market place. Finding a table is a challenge, with its 30 students, there is a certain excitement in the city that we will feel during these two days.

To get to the famous panorama, we take the streets dotted with half-timbered houses. Raising her head, medieval details the facades of private mansions are revealed. Must do: cross the palace, a major place in the history of Poitiers (and of France!), passing by the impressive hall of lost steps. Our path then crosses the majestic St. Peter's Cathedral, built on the model of Notre-Dame-de-Paris but also the sumptuous Sainte-Radegonde church, which houses the tomb of Radegonde, queen of the Franks canonized after her death in Poitiers in 587.
Arrived at the foot of the Notre-Dame-des-Dunes statue, THE most beautiful viewpoint in Poitiers, the nickname "the city of a hundred steeples" given to Poitiers, takes on its full meaning: the beauty of Poitiers and the spiers of religious buildings streaking the sky are displayed in panoramic vision. Compulsory selfie!

19h - Following the bed of the Clain river, the town takes on a rural appearance until the tavern of Tison Island, popular place of Poitevins , here viennent having a drink with your feet in the sand or sitting in the grass to enjoy the coolness of the water. We hadn't planned anything for the evening meal and that's good! The many food-trucks satiate us with succulent dishes.

22h30 - At our hotel, the Mercure Centre, another surprise. It was converted into an old chapel. The decor of vaults and alcoves is sumptuous and very surprising! The children are delighted, they imagine themselves in a castle! The hotel restaurant, archives, is worth a look and also deserves to be eaten there. A clever mix of this religious past and contemporary architecture, it offers a fine cuisine.

Saturday: unmissable stop, the Notre-Dame market

10h - After a good breakfast, we decide "like any good self-respecting Poitevin", according to the butler, to go to the Brive market which spreads out at the foot of Notre-Dame church. A halt is essential in front of the sculpted facade of this jewel of Romanesque art. We push the door, the painted walls are grandiose!

12h - Crossing the market, which offers a ballet of seasonal flavors and local specialties, is an incentive to sit down to eat. We are looking for a terrace. That of the Corsican restaurant, A Casa, on Place Charles VII, which gives pride of place to contemporary art installations, is an ideal base. The square is very lively that day, with all its merchants who organize the “Fête du Village” there. The dishes served are a culinary journey.

14h - To discover the city in a different way, we opt for a fun formula: life-size puzzle game Viking 2.0 proposed by the tourist office. It invites you to slip into the skin of Igor Dehors, “Viking hero”. The scenario: find the code that opens a treasure chest. To do this, you have to detect the clues scattered around the city! If the historical questions may seem complicated, a tablet, magic glasses, a lamp... provided in bags, allow you to unravel the mysteries and emerge victorious from this adventure!

Saturday morning Notre Dame market©Thomas ZELINEK – Agence Zebrelle

16h - Running after the clues made us want to enter the various shops spotted during our journey. Gourmets, we succumb to the chocolate delights at Fink and the essential Rannou-Métivier macaroons. To stock up on regional products to bring back to our friends, we are spoiled for choice at the House of Tourism and Terroir : Poitou-Charentes region style cake, stuffed Poitevin, AOC Haut-Poitou wines et Saumur … In another register, we are seduced by the boutique of local designers, 76 beach, and by one of the last artisanal shops in umbrellas in France.

19h - After this shopping trip, we take a well-deserved break at the bar Rooftop. For the children, fruit juice and for us, a cocktail that we enjoy with a breathtaking view of the city.

20h30 - For dinner, head to the Auberge du Cul de Paille! A Poitevin institution. Beyond being a warm inn serving gourmet dishes, the walls display the signatures of many personalities who came to eat after their performance at the neighboring old theatre: Brel, Bourvil, Piaf, Brassens, Coluche...

22h - The evening ends in style with a concert at the "Grand Poitiers l'été" festival, which offers entertainment scattered throughout the city!

Sunday: nature break in the heart of the city

11h - We linger a bit in bed but the sun through the curtains makes us want greenery. For this, management the “Central Park” of Poitiers : Blossac Park. His 9 hectares are an invitation to idleness on the expanses of grass or to stroll through its different spaces: French garden, English garden, garden of shade and light or its mini zoo. The walk whetted our appetite, but fortunately, like an oasis, the refreshment bar-restaurant in the center of the park has a brunch on its menu... We're in love and we did well, it's a delight!

14h - Satisfied and as time flies by, we hurry a little, we want to introduce children to a major work that rests in the Sainte-Croix Museum : six sculptures by Camille Claudel, including the “Waltz”. We came there for them, but the magic of the place and its numerous collections, of regional archeology at the fine arts, would almost make us forget that we have a train to catch. We pick up the children in front of a sculpture that is as surprising as it is frightening, the Great Ghoul. The beast, described as a monstrous dragon, would have lived in the time of Saint Radegonde. Before taking the way to the station, we stop at the St. John's Baptistery, located next door. With its octagonal baptismal pool, then used for baptism; it is one of the oldest Christian monuments in Europe.

Baptistery of Saint-Jean in Poitiers©ACAP

16h - Sitting on the train, we told ourselves that two days was too short. The children would have liked to paddle on the Clain, enjoy the other escape games and take more time to stroll around and enjoy the sweetness of life in this city... we'll definitely come back!

Zoom on


To enjoy the summer as it should be, find a selection of 14 relaxing places to have a drink with friends or family, all over the department of Vienne. Spotlight on our places…

I sit on the terrace
Have a drink on the terrace in Poitiers ©Agence Zébrelle – Tom Lambert

The day has just dawned on Poitiers and you can already feel the dynamism that emanates from the medieval streets. The café terraces are gradually filling up, punctuated by the comings and goings of passers-by….

I visit the city
Notre Dame La Grande, Jewel of Romanesque Art in Poitiers ©ACAP – Claire COULARDEAU