6 fun facts about Poitiers and its region
Atypical experiences, Living History
Poitiers is best known for its historical patrimony and Futuroscope Park. In this article, we give you 6 unusual anecdotes that you did not know (perhaps not) about Poitiers! Between secrets, stories and discoveries, a new vision of our city opens up to you!
1. The Manneken Pis in Poitiers: an air of Belgium
Did you know that one of the 6 original copies of the Manneken Pis is in Poitiers? During the Second World War, the Belgian services seek refuge in France, following the German offensive in Belgium. On May 23, 1940, they chose Poitiers as their place of asylum. For 26 days, Poitiers becomes the capital of Belgium ! On June 17, 1940, France requested an Armistice, forcing the Belgian government to leave the place the next day. Ten years later, the Belgian police wanted to thank the city of Poitiers for its welcome by offering an official replica of the Brussels Manneken Pis to the French police. The statue is now visible in the lobby of the Poitiers police station.
2. "Long live freedom", in Poitiers
As you stroll near the Place de la Liberte in Poitiers, you will not be able to miss this replica of the famous New York statue. However, it has nothing to do with it. This sculpture was inaugurated on July 14, 1903 in honor of General Berton, French general of the First Empire. In 1822, it was here that the latter, accused of conspiracy, was executed. Before his death, he shouted “Long live freedom! Long live France ! ". To pay homage to him, the Freemasons financed a replica of the Statue of Liberty by Bartholdi: they installed it in the center of the square, which then took the name of “Place de la Liberté”.
3. Filming on Joan of Arc in the Palace of the Counts and Dukes of Aquitaine
The Hall of Lost Steps, in the Palace of the Dukes of Aquitaine and Counts of Poitou, served as filming location for the film Joan of Arc, directed by Luc Besson in 1998. Beyond the architectural aspect, the director chose this place for its historical past. In 1429, Joan of Arc was interrogated in this same room, by the ecclesiastical authorities, in order to carry out an examination of conscience, at the request of the king. This element of the story lends credence to the cinematographic work. Other places in the city mark the passage of Joan of Arc in Poitiers. Cathedral Street, near to St. Peter's Cathedral, you can observe a commemorative plaque, affixed to the former hotel de la Rose, where she stayed during her visit. In the square near the Palace of the Dukes of Poitiers, a statue of him is visible.
4. Grand'Goule, the beast of Poitiers
Grand'Goule is the name of a monstrous dragon that would have lived in the time of Sainte Radegonde, in the sixth century. Legend has it that she lived at the bottom of the Clain, the river adjoining Sainte-Croix abbey, founded by Sainte-Radegonde. When the waters rose, the beast entered the cellars of the abbey, devouring the nuns present on its way. Wishing to stop the dragon, Sainte-Radegonde arms herself with a cross and holy water. Facing the beast, she sprinkles it while reciting a destructive prayer and succeeds in killing it. She then became the patron saint of Poitiers and the Grand'Goule, one of the emblems of the city.
5. La Bicyclette Bleue, a world famous saga in Montmorillon
The writer Régine DEFORGES is from Montmorillon, In the Vienne. She was made famous around the world through the writing of the saga “The blue bicycle”, part of whose story takes place in Montmorillon. She started writing the first book in 1983. The 10th and final volume was published in 2007. In her hometown, she contributed to the creation of the book fair, as well as the City of Books and Written Professions, to promote encounters between authors and the inhabitants of rural areas. This is today the fame of Montmorillon.
6. The shooting of 3th opus of "What have we done to the good Lord? » in the theater of Blossac
Philippe de Chauveron, director of the film “What have we done to God? “, chose the Blossac theater in Chatellerault to shoot a scene from 3th opus of this hit comedy. In the script, the Verneuils' African-born son-in-law, Charles, is hired to play Jesus in a play. Chatellerault was thus chosen for its Italian theatre.