February 16, 2016 Regional guides

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  • Capital: Poitiers
  • Population: 1,640,068 (2,8% of french population)
  • Specialities: Marennes-Oléron oysters, goat’s cheeses, butter, melon, Cognac, Pineau des Charentes (blend of cognac and grape juice)

Background on Poitou-Charentes

Located in Western France between the north of Bordeaux and the south of Paris, Poitou-Charentes is a rich and varied region full of contrasts. It is made up of the four departments of Charente, Charente-Maritime, Deux-Sevres and Vienne. Its astonishing diversity is expressed in terms of a genuine art of living, harmonizing conviviality and authenticity. From country green to ocean blue, the region showers nature lovers with a multitude of colours. Canoe trip amateurs or season hikers, the new “explorers” of Poitou-Charentes will venture from one surprise to the next.

Over 350 kilometers of coastline, chalky cliffs and wild sites alternating with smooth sandy beaches wind their way down the Charente seashore lined with pine trees. The Atlantic seaboard is protected by four islands. Oléron and Ré the two largest, are linked to the continent by bridges. Take advantage of the quietness in the Marais Poitevin aptly named “Green Venice”, a mysterious labyrinth of waterways.

Discover the secrets of the world famous Cognac by visiting cellars and distilleries. Take a cruise on the Charente river or enjoy unique sensations in the futuristic universe of Futuroscope, the European Park of the Moving Image near Poitiers. And don’t forget to taste the regional flavours such as oysters, goat’s cheeses, melons …

More than a simple tourist destination, Poitou-Charentes is a land of traditions in which history holds a place of choice in the heart of its people. In the town centres or near the fortifications, each monument bears the indelible trace of Roman art and architecture. This can be seen in Saintes, Poitiers or in the churches at Saint-Savin, Talmont and Chauvigny.

For countless generations, the women and men of Poitou-Charentes have kept a discreet and inexhaustible treasure of myths and legends. Warm, rather modest and quiet, the locals enjoy the sweetness of life, to take their time, and welcome guests with “savoir-faire”. Take up this true invitation to discover the pleasures of this mild and sunny region.

By plane, Poitou-Charentes is easily accessible from London Stansted (La Rochelle and Poitiers) and Paris airports. By sea, the nearest ferry ports are Caen, Calais, Le Havre and Saint-Malo. By rail, it is only a couple of hours away from Paris by TGV train (Futuroscope 1.20 hr, Poitiers 1.30 hrs and La Rochelle 2.50 hrs).

Facts and figures

  • Capital: Poitiers
  • Population: 1,640,068 (2,8% of french population)
  • Density: 64 per sq. km (France = 108.2 per sq. km)
  • Area: 25,809 sq. km (9,965 sq. miles) representing 4,7% of France
  • Economy: Services (67,8%), industry (26,6%), agriculture (5,6%)
  • Specialities: Marennes-Oléron oysters, goat’s cheeses, butter, melon, Cognac, Pineau des Charentes (blend of cognac and grape juice)


  • 364 kms of coastline
  • 42 marinas
  • 5 registered hiking trails
  • 16 Golf courses – see them at http://www.golflounge.com
  • 777 hotels, 446 campsites, 1,756 gîtes and chambres d’hôtes (B&B)
  • Most popular touristic places include, the islands of Noirmoutier, Oléron, Ré and Aix, the Aquarium and port of La Rochelle, the Zoo de la Palmyre (near Royan) the Marais Poitevin, Poitiers and the nearby Futuroscope

Important Links

To find out more about the Poitou-Charentes region visit:

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