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Poitiers in west-central France is the capital of the Poitou-Charentes region. Historically it has been an important strategic stronghold and sits on a geographic crossroads. Our pick of the best places to stay in Poitiers is slightly out of town, but offers a relaxing riverside getaway, and easy access to the city.
Poitiers was founded by the celtic Pictones. It became Pictavium under the Romans who built a huge amphitheatre and baths. It was subsequently a Visigoth and Frankish capital. In the Middle Ages, Poitiers was the site of the first decisive victory of a Christian army over a Muslim power (Battle of Tours 792). Eleanor of Aquitaine was closely associated with the town and married the English King Henry II here in 1152. The university was founded in 1431 and is the second oldest in France - today 25% of the population are students, which lends the city a vibrant buzz.
The city’s rich history has left many interesting landmarks for the sightseer:
- the fourth century Baptisterie Saint-Jean is reputedly the oldest church in France, other churches of note include Notre-Dame la Grande, the twelfth century cathedral Saint-Pierre and the underground chapel Hypogee des Dunes.
- The streets are full of medieval architecture and half timbered houses with many attractive shops to browse. Plus a wide range of cafes, bars and restaurants for refuelling as you wander.
- The botanical Jardin des Plantes is a pleasant spot to relax.
- The Musee Saint Croix is full of fascinating exhibits.
- The Parc du Futuroscope is great for children - an ultra modern virtual reality themed experience.
Easily accessible, the town is a mere one hour and forty minutes from Paris on the TGV. Or if you're coming by car, it's an ideal stopping off point on the way to the Languedoc or further on to Spain - it's just off the A10 motorway.
The best places to stay in Poitiers are very busy durinng the peak summer months, so if you're planning to visit during July or August, get organised and book well ahead.
The best places to stay in Poitiers
For a Riverside Chateau
- The lovely eighteenth century Chateau du Clos de la Ribaudiere sits on the banks of the River Clain. It has been beautifully restored as a luxury hotel with elegant interiors and a gourmet restaurant serving the finest French cuisine. Ideal for a romantic break, and well located for visits to Futuroscope.
Nothing here that fits the bill? Browse our full list of the best places to stay in Poitiers, expand your search to include all our Poitou-Charentes recommendations, or contact a friendly guru for advice.
Best Hotels in Poitiers
Chateau du Clos de la Ribaudiere 41 rooms from $145Chasseneuil-du-Poitou, Poitou Charentes
A beautifully renovated 18th century chateau on the banks of the River Clain. Large and spacious rooms with antique furnishings, exposed beams, rich fabrics and garden views. The gourmet restaurant serves traditional French cuisine, and the leafy garden boasts a pool. A grown up getaway.Romantic Break - Luxurious rooms with modern comforts, indulgent interiors, in room massages and a fine dining restaurant on site.Hideaway - Set within a large park on the banks of the River Clain, it's the ideal place to getaway from it all.Sights nearby - History buffs must visit the church of Notre-Dame-la-Grande, St Jean Baptistery and St. Pierre Cathedral.Swimming Pool - An outdoor pool for guests