Poitiers !!!

Ok so my imagination is blind, but with the name of the town it means many things. One is the city of Poitiers is full of beautiful architecture, wonderful history, and just plain beautiful facades to enjoy it for long. I like to give you an introduction to a wonderful old historical town of my belle France, We were here several years back, and visited the famous Futuroscope park with the boys, It must have been one of those trips of yesteryear that cannot find the pictures !! We were there today and plenty of pictures and posts to follow, I redeem myself!, so why not start with an introduction to the town of Poitiers in my black and white series, Hope you enjoy it as I, The city of Poitiers is in the Vienne department. 86 ; it was the capital of the cultural and historical region of Poitou and until 2016 of the former administrative region of Poitou-Charentes, it is today in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. To note, Poitiers has been a large university town since the creation of its University in 1431, having notably hosted René Descartes, Joachim du Bellay and François Rabelais.

We have been there and was again today by car, the best to travel me think, Poitiers is at the crossroads of the center-west, and is served by the A10 highway, by the D910 which bypasses Poitiers from the west, by the A83 towards Niort and La Rochelle and finally by the N147 of Angers-Limoges,and from where the N151 Poitiers-Auxerre leaves. Poitiers is 340 km from Paris, 180 km from Nantes and 220 km from Bordeaux. It is about 350 km from my house. The city of Poitiers is also served by the LGV Sud Europe Atlantique train given the Poitiers – Paris run in about 75 minutes , and the Poitiers – Bordeaux run in 65 minutes. The TER Nouvelle Aquitaine connects Poitiers to Châteauroux, Angoulême, Limoges, Nantes (via Parthenay and Bressuire), La Rochelle (via Niort) and the other large agglomerations of the West. There is also a stop in Futuroscope park, Finally, many regular flights departing from Poitiers-Biard airport connect with several French and European cities with Ryanair and HOP airlines,

A bit of history I like

Two important battles me think happened in or around Poitiers, The first battle of Poitiers 507, or battle of Vouillé is the least known. It was won by Clovis I on Alaric II king of the Visigoths ,called Campus Vogladensis) at the time just north-west of Poitiers, and allowed the conquest of the entire area between Loire and Pyrenees; and the battle of Poitiers in 732 at Moussais, in the town of Vouneuil-sur-Vienne, north of Poitiers, with the victory of the Franks led by Charles Martel over the Moorish troops and their allies coming up from current day Spain,This stop their further advancement,

Poitiers was the seat of a bishopric since the 4C, the city also developed around the Sainte-Croix monastery founded by Radegonde, queen of the Franks. The city is the capital of the county of Poitiers, whose counts, also titled Duke of Aquitaine lead an important principality grouping together several counties and former counties such as Poitiers, Limoges, Angoulême, Périgueux, Saintes, etc. forming the Duchy of Aquitaine. From 927 to 1216, Poitiers was the capital of the Duchy of Aquitaine. The Dukes of Aquitaine built their castle there and Aliénor d’Aquitaine lived there regularly. The city welcomes many pilgrims who come to venerate the relics of Saint Radegonde or Saint Hilaire, some continuing towards Santiago de Compostela (Galicia, Spain).

During WWII, Poitiers hosted the Belgian government in exile from May 23 to June 18, 1940. To thank the city for its welcome, a copy of the Manneken-Pis was offered in 1950 by the Belgian Police, it is in the Hôtel de Police or police station of Poitiers. An internment camp on the road to Limoges, initially established to accommodate Spanish refugees, became a stopover on the road to death camps for nearly 2,000 Jews and more than a hundred Gypsies.

What can be seen, enjoy at Poitiers, well let me give a brief rundown in this introduction and then my favorites.

Poitiers is a city of art and history, that which is still called “The city of a hundred spiers” or “The city of a hundred churches”, endowed with an old and rich heritage, Poitiers brings together an important monumental complex unmatched in the west of France, including in particular the Saint-Jean baptistery (5C), the hypogeum of the Dunes (7C), the Notre-Dame-la-Grande Church (12C), the Saint-Porchaire Church (12C) ) or the Saint-Pierre Cathedral (end of the 12C – beginning of the 13C) ; as well as the old courthouse (12C), former palace of the Counts of Poitou, Dukes of Aquitaine, where the Queen of France and England Aliénor d’Aquitaine held court.

The city of Poitiers is loaded with religious monuments of great value, so many need a book, I will just tell you the main ones below, all must see while in town, It, also, has two nice bridges over the Clain river pont Joubert , a medieval bridge, one-way since early 2015, and Pont Neuf, built in 1778 ,four lanes traffic, The best park here is the Parc de Blossac, created by the intendant of Poitou from 1753 behind the old ramparts of the Middle Ages, it presents perspectives and French-cut trees. In 1899, a small English garden was installed there and in 2003 the Grand Pré was restored with a contemporary garden. the Park is adorned with statues by Antoine Étex, Hippolyte Maindron, Raymond Sudre, a copy of the Warwick Cup and the Barbedienne fonts. For me the best museum is the Musée Sainte-Croix, It is the largest museum in the city. Built in 1974, the Sainte-Croix museum stands in place of the former Sainte-Croix abbey. It is a vast structure of concrete and glass, in the purest style of the 1970s. It hosts a permanent exhibition from prehistory to contemporary art, including the medieval period and the Fine Arts. In particular, it owns several major sculptures by Camille Claudel. And course, the omnipresent Futuroscope, one of the nicer parks in France, To us this was almost like EPCOT in Walt Disney Orlando Fl USA, It was a change of pace à la Française, Here better with smaller children, say less than 18 me think.

For me the main things to see in Poitiers are below with a brief description taken from the city of Poitiers.

The Saint-Hilaire-le-Grand Church, Built in the 11C, it is located on the burial site of the first attested bishop of Poitiers, Saint Hilaire, who died around 367. An important stage of the Via Turonensis (the way of the Tower), it is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. in 1998, under the roads of Saint-Jaime of Compostela (Spain).

The palace of the Counts of Poitou – Dukes of Aquitaine, Former palace of the counts of Poitou-dukes of Aquitaine, the courthouse of Poitiers is a testament to the architectural style called “Angevin Gothic”. The large ceremonial room known as the “Salle des Pas Perdus” was rebuilt by the Plantagenêt family a little before 1200. It remains today one of the most remarkable examples of medieval civil architecture in France. The Palace of the Dukes of Aquitaine partly became the courthouse of Poitiers during the French revolution.

The Saint-Jean baptistery, built in the 5C, remains one of the oldest surviving evidence in France of the beginnings of Christian architecture.

The Saint-Peter Cathedral or Cathédrale Saint-Pierre follows on from a first church from the 11C. The current cathedral is in the “Angevin Gothic” or “Plantagenêt” style except for the facade, which with a rose window and three gable portals, follows the influence of the Gothic architecture of Île-de-France. Financed by Henry II of England under the influence of his wife, Aliénor d’Aquitaine, the construction of the cathedral began around 1160, and was completed in 1379, the year of its consecration.

The Notre-Dame-la-Grande Church. A major testament to Romanesque architecture, presents an exceptionally rich sculpted facade. It is illuminated every evening in summer and during the Christmas holidays during nocturnal “Polychromies”,

The City/Town Hall, Built between 1869 and 1875, the Poitiers City/Town Hall is the end point of a vast urbanization project for the town center. With its majestic neo-Renaissance facade, the building is a major monument representative of the tastes of the Second Empire (Napoléon III). Inside, the main staircase stages the visitor’s ascent to the loggia.

The city of Poitiers on its heritage :https://www.poitiers.fr/c__255_1043__Decouvrir_le_patrimoine.html

The Poitiers tourist office on things to see : https://visitpoitiers.fr/en/les-incontournables/

The metro area of Poitiers on things to do/see in French : https://sortir.grandpoitiers.fr/

The Vienne dept 86 tourist office on Poitiers : https://www.tourisme-vienne.com/en/ville/poitiers

There you go folks, another wonder in my belle France indeed. Many memories already fading here and so time to be back soon and will take again pictures! Poitiers is nice ,worth the detour, hope you enjoy the post as I.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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