Poitiers is one of France’s lesser known gems, meaning that it avoids the rush of tourism felt elsewhere in the country, as well as the increased prices. Cheap flights to Poitiers should be relatively easy to find year-round. Couples might want to spend Christmas on the Clain, enjoying all the seasonal sights and sounds of Noël à Poitiers, a festival of food, theatre and song running between end of November and early January. A more lively time of year to book flights to Poitiers is during Le Carnaval, a Mardi Gras celebration held February, or in May which sees La Nuit Européenne des Musées, a day where all the city’s museums are free. Things heat up in June when the city is over taken by the Poitiers Eclats d’Eté, a three month celebration of concerts, food and special events held across the city, while late November sees the illumination of the silver screen during the annual Poitiers Film Festival.
By the time the sun set on 14 September 1356, the little cathedral city of Poitiers had passed into legend. It was here on that cool autumnal day that the massed armies of the English king defeated that of the French in a whitewash victory that altered the course of the 100 Years War. Ever since, this ancient city on the banks of the Clain River has been a pilgrimage spot for military historians and students of feudal Europe, as well as a favourite spot for lovers of medieval architecture.
Beginning with the fourth century baptistery of Saint-Jean, the oldest church in France as well as one of the most prominent examples of Merovingian architecture in the world, Poitiers is one of the best places to investigate the appearance of post-Roman Europe. Highlights include the Church of Sainte-Radegonde, Notre-Dame la Grande, the grand 12th century Poitiers Cathedral and Charlemagne’s ornate Palace of Justice. The underground chapel L’Hypogée des Dunes is also worth a look, as is Église de Montierneuf.
Away from the history, couples book flights to Poitiers to enjoy the romantic side of the city where they can retreat for some precious TLC. Be sure to check out the landscaped park gardens, Jardin des Plantes de Poitiers, as well as the wealth of restaurants, cafes and bars in the heart of the city. Poitiers is also home to a handful of museums, galleries and boutique shops.
Looking a little further afield, check-out the the Parc du Futuroscope 6 miles (9.5 km) north of Poitiers city centre, where visitors can interact with the latest and greatest technology in the world of multimedia, cinematography, and futuroscope.
Poitiers is served by the Vitalis bus network. A one-day ticket provides unlimited access to the transport network for a whole day. Group and family tickets are also available. Tickets can be bought on board or from the local train station.
Flights to Poitiers are served by Poitiers Biard Airport (PIS) which is located 1.5 miles (2.4 km) to the west. There is no bus shuttle service between the airport and the city centre, but private taxis are available and can be hired fairly inexpensively. Alternatively, rent a car and enjoy the freedom to explore the pretty scenery surrounding the city.