The Palace of Poitiers, a remarkable building in Poitiers

Living History

Free activities
All year round
The lost steps room at the Palace of the Counts of Poitou ©ACAP

Grandiose, impressive, astonishing... A major site of medieval civil architecture in France, once a place of power and then a courthouse, the Palace, planted in the heart of the historic center of Poitiers, has been reopened to the public since 2019.

From Eleanor of Aquitaine to Marie Besnard

Closely related to Eleanor of Aquitaine, Duchess of Aquitaine, Queen of France and England, the Palace of the Dukes of Aquitaine displays a glorious past at the heart of the history of France. It will have marked the history of Poitiers, from the Palace of the Counts of Poitou Dukes of Aquitaine to Saint-Pierre cathedral, then will end its life at the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud, a few kilometers from Poitiers.

First a place of power, then a place of justice, the Palace has stood the test of time major events in the history of France. Famous people like William the Great ou King Philip IV the Fair stayed there; Jeanne D'Arc was interrogated there in 1429 (which led to the Salle des Pas Perdus appearing in 1999 in Luc Besson's film on the Maid of Orléans); or, Mary Besnard was accused there in 1952 of the poisoning of twelve people during one of the most resounding trials in France...

A new era for the Palace

Without ignoring this past, the ambitious challenge of the City of Poitiers today is to offer new life to the Palace. A reflection has been carried out since 2016 on the future uses of this place and its rehabilitation, the aim of which is to bring this heritage to life. Combining reuse and technical innovations, this rehabilitation is underway.

The site is gradually being returned to the public, notably with open and free access to the impressive Hall of Lost causes. Its proportions, 50 meters long by 17 meters wide, make it the largest hall of this type in Europe. On site you will be struck by its astonishing framework, its high windows with stained glass but also by its three imposing carved fireplaces.
Today, the Palace is a place of life to meet and promote cultural, citizen and scientific projects in connection with the actors of the territory.

The Secrets of the Palace

The year 2020 was marked by the start archaeological excavations. As part of a project in the Palais district, the City of Poitiers has concluded an archaeological partnership agreement with the Center for Higher Studies in Medieval Civilization of the University of Poitiers and the State / DRAC Nouvelle-Aquitaine. This rehabilitation project offers a great opportunity to know the secrets of the site and to learn more about medieval architecture.

To follow the progress of this research, explanatory panels, digital tablets, videos are accessible to everyone at the Palais.

Animals in the spotlight at the Palace

Staying in la Vienne, pass by the Palace to discover the current exhibition "The Bear, the Swan and the Crocodile". An exhibition that traces the history of our life companions in the daily life of the Middle Ages.

With family or friends, young and old, discover the animals attached to the history of the Palace and the life of these princes!