Poitiers is a pleasant, relatively small city of around 85,000 inhabitants that has strong medieval roots. It is situated on the Clain river.
Charles Martel changed the course of French and European history near Poitiers in 732 by halting the advancing Moors in the Battle of Tours, which was the first decisive Christian victory over the Moorish invaders. The battle took place just a few kilometres north of the city.
Poitiers is located roughly 350km due South of Paris, 120km East of the Atlantic Coast.
By car Halfway between Paris and Toulouse on the motorway A10, Poitiers can be a nice place to stay for a couple of days on a trip to other destinations in the South West region of France.
By train The journey from Paris (Montparnasse station) to Poitiers takes 90min on the TGV, high speed train. Upon arrival, the city centre is straight ahead out of the station, on the top of the hill.
By air Poitiers' international airport (Aeroport de Poitiers-Biard) offers daily connections from:
- London, from Stansted with Ryanair, the flight takes a little over an hour,
- Lyon, a major French hub.
Poitiers' train and bus stations are located next to each other. Nearby towns and cities as well as local attractions can be reached by bus, operated by Vitalis .
There isn't a lot to do at Poitiers, but it is a pleasant small city, and visitors will find relaxed atmosphere, especially compared to Paris. Poitiers is also a good base to visit nearby towns like La Rochelle or Tours.
The local university, the Université de Poitiers, has over 24,000 students. Poitiers is the first town in France considering the proportion of students in the population, around 25%.
"Macaroons from Montmorillon", a local speciality delicious with a coffee or tea, and great as a gift. These can be found at Rannou Metivier, which has two shops in Poitiers' town centre (30, rue des cordeliers and 13bis, rue des cordeliers).
"Le Broyé du Poitou", the Crushed of the Poitou, a biscuit the size of a cookie that is called this way because it was traditionally shared by hitting it of a punch in its centre, hence breaking it. As it is a hard biscuit, it would then yield nibbling size pieces. The Broyé du Poitou can be found in any supermarket in town. The main producer is Goulibeur.
There are many hotels in Poitiers, with prices ranging from 30 euros for a double room in a one star hotel to more than 200 in a relais et chateaux. You can also sleep in a hotel in Paris and take the train or car early in the morning