Best Things To Do In Poitiers, France

things to do in poitiers france
Adrian Chew
Adrian Chew
Updated

Poitiers is a city in western France perched on a plateau between the rivers Clain and Boivre. It has a rich historical and artistic heritage and is home to many universities. Most of the oldest universities of France are located in Poitiers. It is often renowned as town of 100 bell towers. Besides, the city has over 70 listed buildings around the inner maze of narrow streets. The centre of the city is picturesque and its streets include predominant architecture and history, particularly from the Romanesque period. Among the well-known historical sites are the Notre Dome la Grande, Hotel de Ville and Jardin des Plantes.

1. Jardin des Plantes

Jardin des Plantes de Poitiers
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Æacus used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This Botanical Garden of Poitiers was created in 1869 and forms part of the gardens of Hotel Dieu. This is not an average botanical garden and while you are here, there is plenty to see, such as a collection of about 100 different shrubs and trees, an ornamental lake, mosaic looking flower beds and landscaped alleyways. Besides, admire the unique grotto at this garden.

The main attraction is the tropical glasshouse, which houses 150 different species. Do not miss the Blossac Parc and Rose Garden while you are here. This botanical garden was created by professors of a local university in Poitiers, intended for their students. Each and every flower bed is systematically classified and named (medicinal, aromatic and condiment) for the public. Jardine des Plantes is really therapeutic and educational. It is just within walking distance from the city and an enchanting garden for visitors to unwind.

Jardin des Plantes

Address: 1, Rue du Jardin des Plantes, 86000 Poitiers, France

Website: Jardin des Plantes

2. Parc de Blossac

Parc de Blossac
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Heloise123 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Parc de Blossac is among the most beautiful parks in France. The park was designed by Count of Blossac in the 18th-century and covers an area of 9 hectares (22 acres). Originally Blossac Park was a historic private garden but now it has turned into a public park. It is a typical French park with large diagonal walkways leading to the centre with a nice mountain with an elevated views of the city. Interestingly, the park is built on an old site with majestic views of River Clain and the city.

The park includes a garden area covered with pergolas and numerous paths. Besides that, different species of shrubs and trees can also be found here. Visitors and tourists visiting this place will be enthralled by the beautiful displays of flowers and spring bulbs. It is also a good spot for a picnic, a jog and a sunny day walk as there is 1.25 miles (2 kilometers) of path around the edge. Apart from that, there is a small zoo in the park. Imagine yourself walking and talking pictures around the park with majestic ornamental trees, ponds, a fountain, some animals and sculptures. This beautiful park provides both visitors and locals a delightful place to wander around. Parc de Blossac also serves as a green lung for the people of Poitiers.

Parc de Blossac

Address: Rue Léopold-Thézard, 86000 Poitiers, France

Website: Parc de Blossac

3. Futuroscope

Le Parc Du Futuroscope II
Source: Photo by user Le_parc_du_futuro... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Parc du Futuroscope is a French theme park based on audio visual, multimedia, futuroscope and cinematographic techniques. Dive into the fun, festive and family friendly Futuroscope atmosphere. It is not an ordinary theme park and is fun for everyone, whether you are first timers, seasoned travelers or families. Bring your kids along as this attraction is packed with innovative activities just for them.

Synonymous with moving image technology since 1987, its diverse attractions are all based on sense of vision. Apart from that, it educates whilst entertaining visitors of all ages. To get here you can take a shuttle bus. Besides, it is also easily accessible from Poitiers airport. More importantly, it is Europe’s best theme park as nominated by TripAdvisor in 2016.

Futuroscope

Address: Avenue René Monory, 86360 Chasseneuil-du-Poitou, France

Website: Futuroscope

4. Espace Mendes France

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The center of scientific culture, Espace Mendes France is situated in the middle of Poitiers. Its main missions are popularizing its business, research, results and methods. The center owes its origin to the meeting between activist of Popular Education and researchers from the University of Poitiers. Today, it is a center of technical culture and scientific institution in the city. Besides, the center coordinates regionally filming work, the Festivals of France, images of science and science books. Tourists and visitors likewise should come here as it is a friendly place for them to see various creations, exhibitions, shows and much more.

Espace Mendes France

Address: 1 Rue de la Cathédrale, 86038 Poitiers, France

Price: Depends on which exhibitions and shows you choose

Website: Espace Mendes France

5. Church of Notre Dame la Grande

Poitiers notre dame
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Welleschik used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Notre Dame la Grande is a magnificent Romanesque Byzantine church from the 11th and 12th-centuries. This church is the jewel of Pointers and most visitors call it the most beautiful Romanesque façade in the world. Apart from that, its name probably indicates there were less impressive churches dedicated to our lady in medieval Poitiers. In terms of size, it is not a large church and its wide façade is covered in carvings of biblical scenes and saints, and is flanked by pinecone-shaped towers.

The church is divided into a few sections. Its west front section is flanked by turrets topped with conical spines. Besides that, it is the finest Romanesque facades in France. On the other hand, its interior is made up of murals and is vaulted and dark, whereas its top tier is surrounded by symbols of the four evangelists and has a richly carved oval medallion of Christ in Glory. This is yet another awesome attraction to visit.

Church of Notre Dame la Grande

Address: Place Charles de Gaulle, 86000 Poitiers, France

Website: Church of Notre Dame la Grande

6. Hotel de Ville

Hôtel de ville – Poitiers
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jules78120 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This magnificent and majestic building is situated right in the town square. It was originally built as a hotel, this building now houses the museums and Municipal buildings. Besides, it lies imposingly in front of the square with many shops, bistro restaurants and bars within the vicinity of the square. If you are hungry you can relax and go get some food nearby.

Hotel de Ville looks amazing by night and fantastic by day. Therefore this majestic building is definitely worth a visit. While you are here, do not forget to take some beautiful pictures of this heritage building. This attraction is just within walking distance from the Le Grand Hotel.

Hotel de Ville

Address: 15 Place du Maréchal-Leclerc, 86000 Poitiers, France

Website: Hotel de Ville

7. Maison de I’Architecture de Poitou-Charentes

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

This attraction is a space for the valorization of contemporary landscape, architecture and design through conferences and exhibitions for the general public. Strategically situated in the middle of the city center, the Maison de I’Architecture de Poitou-Charentes (MDA) also offers educational workshops, trips and screenings for schoolchildren and families.

Maison de I’Architecture de Poitou-Charentes

Address: 1 Rue de la Tranchée, 86000 Poitiers, France

Price: Depends on which exhibitions you opt for

Website: Maison de I’Architecture de Poitou-Charentes

8. Musee Sainte-Croix

Musée Sainte-Croix Poitiers
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Danielclauzier used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Musee Sainte-Croix is a small museum showcasing some unique art pieces that includes Rodin sculptures and the archaeological history of the area. It was constructed of glass and concrete in a 1970’s style and is actually built on the site of the former Abbaye Sainte-Croix. Besides that, the museum also hosts permanent exhibitions between the periods of prehistory through medieval. Among them are fine art as well as contemporary art.

While you are here, check out the archaeological section. Here you will find Roman relics and visible excavations that are very interesting. Apart from that, this attraction is a good example of culture from the medieval period to the present day. It also has numerous exhibitions for tourists to see. In total there are three floors for you to view and immerse yourself in the different exhibitions. It is indeed a unique place for visitors to come here.

Musee Sainte-Croix

Address: 3 bis Rue Jean Jaurès, 86000 Poitiers, France

Website: Musee Sainte-Croix

9. Grande Salle-Palais de Poitiers

Poitiers Palais Justice Cheminée
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user CaptainHaddock used under CC BY-SA 3.0

This attraction commenced its life as the seat of the Dukes of Aquitaine and Count of Poitiers and between the 10th and 12th-centuries. Grande Salle–Palais de Poitiers was formerly a palace until it was destroyed in fire. It was rebuilt later into a courthouse. It is a medieval testimony of the architectural style of the gothic Angers. The assembly hall and the large gothic hall were formerly the official palace auditorium. The Angers gothic style architectures comprise of ornate decoration, archways, masks and hooked domes.

With the large Maubeigeon tower and hall, the palace is one of the most incredible architectural ensembles of the Middle Ages in France. Head over now and discover this unique architectural gem. Today, this attraction is still impressive and continues to charm visitors and tourists. It is definitely a real piece of Anglo-French history.

Grande Salle-Palais de Poitiers

Address: 10 Place Alphonse Lepetit, 86000 Poitiers, France

Website: Grande Salle-Palais de Poitiers

City rich in culture and heritage

Futuroscope from the tower
Source: Photo by user Llorenzi used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Nobody should miss Poitiers, the delightful capital of Poitou-Charentes region with over 2,000 years of real history. Encircled by the Boivre and Clain rivers, the city offers a network of discovery trails dotted with vibrant squares and quiet gardens as well as quaint pedestrian streets. One should observe all the rich architectural and cultural attractions in Pointers. This is a place not to be missed for tourists and travelers.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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I was born and raised in a small town called Muar, Johor in Malaysia. After my parents got married, I moved to Kuala Lumpur and currently residing in Selayang, Selangor. My favourite pastime...Read more

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