Top French Cities - Poitiers at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit the Poitiers Tourism Office at

City region: Poitou / Nouvelle-Aquitaine

Population & what they are called: 90,115 inhabitants (2014 census), called Poitevins

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 3 h 30 min (215 miles) via the A10 autoroute L'Aquitaine

  • by train: about 1 h 20 min by TGV from the Gare Montparnasse

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • Michel Foucault, philosopher

  • Joël Robuchon, chef and restaurateur

  • Brian Joubert, champion figure skater

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • There is a Statue of Liberty in Poitiers! In 1903, a smaller version of the famous work that Bartholdi presented to New York City was placed on Place de la Liberté to remember General Jean-Baptiste Breton, who was executed there in 1822 for plotting against Louis XVIII.

  • With more than 27,000 students in Poitiers, half of the population is younger than 30 years old.

Notable sites:

  • Eglise Notre-Dame-la-Grande – a masterpiece of Romanesque church architecture particularly notable for its sculpted facade, illuminated every evening in summer and during the Christmas holidays

  • Palais des Comtes de Poitou et Ducs d'Aquitaine – the 12th- to 13th-century former palace of the counts of Poitou and dukes of Aquitaine, currently the city’s court building

  • other significant religious monuments – the list of important sites includes the Eglise St-Hilaire le Grand (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Baptistère Saint-Jean (one of the oldest baptisteries in Europe) and Cathédrale Saint-Pierre with its wonderful Gothic paintings, discovered in 2016

Top annual events:

  • Poitiers, l’Eté – the city fills with venues for music, theater, dance, movies and street art

  • Festival à Corps – an April festival of contemporary dance and theater (

  • Noël en Ville – when the spirit of Christmas settles in

Most notable museum:

  • Musée Sainte-Croix – leading regional museum, with one special section devoted to regional archaeology covering Poitou history and another given over to Camille Claudel sculptures

Culinary specialties:

  • farci poitevin – a vegetable pâté (sorrel, chard, spinach) flavored with lard and wrapped in cabbage leaves

  • agneau du Poitou – parsley lamb usually accompanied by white haricot beans

  • broyé du Poitou – a salted butter biscuit, best when broken into uneven chunks

Local wines & spirits:

  • Haut-Poitou AOC wines – Fresh and light, these wines come in white, red and rosé colors

  • beer – look out for local beers from regional breweries like Les Pirates du Clain, La Manufacture de Bières and La Brasserie de Bellefois


  • Marché de Notre-Dame – right at the foot of the church, the best place for local product

  • Flea and antique market – a weekly event that takes place on Place Charles-de-Gaulle

  • Rue des Cordeliers – national and international shops, including bakeries, clothes retail stores and the Centre Commercial Cordeliers

Most popular night spots:

  • La Serrurerie – a relaxing city-center concept bar and restaurant

  • La Tomate Blanche – great for after-work drinks, restaurant meals and as a nightclub

  • Le Confort Moderne – a free-to-enter arts and culture hotspot known for electronic music, popular DJs and much more (currently closed for renovation, but reopening on December 16)

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • Futuroscope – a vision of the future in a multimedia theme park, France's second most visited (

  • a little exercise – more than 250 miles of signposted trail stretch across the greater metropolitan area, taking in parks like Parc de Blossac, built along the old city walls, and Jardin des Plantes, a lovely botanical garden

  • Le TAP-Scène Nationale – an arts center for theater, contemporary music, comedy, dance and more (

Local industries:

  • research laboratories – organized around six scientific pillars, with 20 of the labs connected to the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (French National Center for Scientific Research), the country’s largest governmental research organization

In Pop Culture:

  • La Fanzinothèque – France’s first library devoted entirely to fanzines (

  • Jabberwocky – a song (“Photomaton”) by this new electro-pop group of three local students has been selected as the background music of the new Peugeot 208 ad campaign

  • Fanny Laugier – a talented local ceramicist who already sells through the Musée Picasso in Barcelona has just provided 30 or so pieces to the Museum of Modern Art in NYC for sale in their museum store

About Top French Cities -

Top French Cities is an association of 29 cities, from regional capitals like Bordeaux to important towns like Avignon and Versailles. They are perfect for young travelers, families and anyone else looking for fun and authentic French experiences that will fit their budget. Most of these cities are university towns with a youthful atmosphere, but all of them reflect the heritage and distinctive flavors of the regions to which they belong. Many are forward-looking too, with historic buildings repurposed to house contemporary art and activity centers like Les Docks in Marseille. Many have created or integrated new, modern museums to contrast with their classical, architectural heritage, like in Nimes, where the cutting-edge Museum of Roman Civilization (Musée de la Romanité) is located across from the historic Roman amphitheater, or in Nantes, where whimsical mechanical creatures are being created, or in the UNESCO World Heritage Site concrete city of Le Havre.


Marion Fourestier
Atout France-The France Tourism Development Agency