• Poitou-Charentes, France
    © iStockphoto.com / Saintho
  • Poitou-Charentes, France
    © iStockphoto.com / Sablin
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Travel to Poitou-Charentes, the heart of rural France

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile

Travel guide

"On a farm in Poitou, a cock loved a clock" sang Claude Nougaro. It is true that this area has everything it takes to turn heads, or even drive some crazy. This isn't necessarily due to the Pineau or Cognac (which, as everyone knows, should be consumed with moderation) but to the wealth of the region on so many accounts.
First there is the coastline, to which holidaymakers flock come summer. The small and charming Ile de Ré sees its streets, its ports and its beaches crammed by both celebrities and tourists as soon as the weather turns warm. Less popular with high society, Ile d'Oléron, the region's other island, is highly frequented by mainlanders in search of beaches and seafood platters (including, in particular, the famous Marenne oysters).
The fine sand and coastal cities of Charente-Maritime, like La Rochelle and its old port, or Royan, the famous seaside resort of the 'Coast of Beauty', often make tourists forget all other destinations. However, if the east coast is the sapphire of the region, its interior is a set of emeralds. Obviously, the central stone of this necklace is 'Venice Verte' (Green Venice). This very unique part of the Poitevin Marsh offers visitors rides over duckweed-covered canals steered by a boatman, enabling them to discover for themselves the grandeur of what many painters have depicted on their canvasses.
The region is also a paradise for those who love history and architecture. There are no less than a thousand Roman churches at its heart, not to mention countless castles, forts and prehistoric sites. The panorama of Poitou-Charentes would not be complete without one of its famous cities, Poitiers. This city's history can be discovered by wandering around its streets and visiting its 78 monuments, while its modern side can be seen in its park dedicated to images and new technologies, Futuroscope.

Our Editorial team's advice

With its oceanic climate, Poitou-Charentes receives a lot of rain. The ideal season for enjoying the mild temperatures and blue skies is from May to September.
During these five mild months, visitors can take advantage of all that the land and the sea comprising this region have to offer. Since the two summer months are synonymous with large crowds of tourists on the coastline, we recommend you use these months to discover the inland territory of this region. There are many different ideas for possible outings. The Poitevin Marsh and its Green Venice should definitely be explored. Even just a simple boat ride will be enough to give you a taste of the wealth and uniqueness of this very green land.
On a more cultural side, you can visit the National Centre of Comics in Angoulême as well as the city itself, the Futuroscope theme park in Poitiers, and the prehistoric sites in Lussace-les-Châteaux. In short, this is a region where you can travel back to the beginning of time but also far into the future. In spring, it is time to discover the Poitou-Charentes coastline. Less crowded than in the summer, this is the perfect season for discovering Île de Ré, Île d'Oléron and the maritime landscapes by bicycle or from the beaches along the coast.
Just 3h by train from Paris (Poitiers is 1h 40m away), La Rochelle is the ideal destination for a long weekend if you are looking for the ambience of a port city combined with plenty of fresh seafood. However, the entire region abounds with local products and specialities, such as bouchot mussels, Marennes-Oléron oysters, Charente-Poitou butter and cognac.

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Ideal Weather Search

Find weekly weather forecasts for Poitou-Charentes . Different criteria make it possible to predict with precision the best time of year to go to Poitou-Charentes . A comprehensive weather score, made up of temperature indicators, bad weather predictions, sunshine levels and wind speeds, will allow you to choose the activities best suited to the weather conditions and therefore make the most of your holiday in Poitou-Charentes .

What to see

Bouchot mussels , France
Bouchot mussels
Marennes Oléron oysters , France
Marennes Oléron oysters
Ile de Ré potatoes , France
Ile de Ré potatoes
The 'cagouille' , France
The 'cagouille'
Pineau des Charentes , France
Pineau des Charentes
Cognac , France
Cognac
Marais Poitevin National Park , France
Marais Poitevin National Park
Animals, minerals, and plants , France
Animals, minerals, and plants
National Marine Museum , France
National Marine Museum
Dupuy Mestreau Regional Museum , France
Dupuy Mestreau Regional Museum
Paléosite , France
Paléosite
Fort Boyard , France
Fort Boyard
Rochefort's 'Corderie Royale' rope factory , France
Rochefort's 'Corderie Royale' rope factory
La Rochelle Aquarium , France
La Rochelle Aquarium
La Palmyre Zoo , France
La Palmyre Zoo
Poitou-Charentes : Explore