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Poitou Charentes guide

About Poitou Charentes

With beautiful marshes criss-crossed by waterways that have earnt the nickname of Green Venice, to the elegant beaches and seaside resorts such as stylish La Rochelle, Poitou Charentes is a region perfect for those who love to be active and out of doors, as well as having some wonderful historic cities and it is also the home of fine Cognac brandy.

All along the coast you'll find magnificent beaches and opportunities for all kinds of watersports. Inland, the lush countryside features wooded valleys, sleepy villages, and the famous Cognac vineyards. Poitiers is one of France's oldest cities, while the nearby Futuroscope attraction is the ultimate in high-tech.

A tranquil and largely unspoilt region with a stunning coastline boasting fine sandy beaches backed by fragrant pine forests, pretty marinas and bustling resorts including popular Royan. Another highlight is the chic port of La Rochelle with its waterside restaurants, picturesque shopping streets and a delightful old harbour often lively with street entertainers, artists and market stalls. For a peaceful retreat you can escape to a number of beautiful islands such as the Ile d'Oléron (be wary of naturists!) and the Ile de Ré which is reached by a toll bridge and reputed to have its own micro-climate with hours of endless sunshine. Inland has also plenty of assets; the Marais Poitevin (marshes) or Venise Verte as it is often referred to has a serene and verdant expanse of fields which can be explored by rowing boat along the canals or cycling the many towpaths.

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Or visit Poitiers, one of France's most ancient towns and the equally charming Cognac which is also home to world famous brandy distilleries - take a free guided tour and sample the fabled nectar that has been produced here since the 17th century.

Cuisine of Poitou Charentes

Local specialities

Charentais melon. Creamy Chabichou goats' cheese. Oysters from the Ile d'Oléron.

What's on the menu?

Moules au Pineau - mussels cooked with tomatoes, pineau, garlic and parsley. Desserts flavoured with angelica. Tourteau fromagé, a delicious cheesecake.

What to drink

Brandy. Pineau des Charentes, an aperitif made from brandy and sweet unfermented grape juice.

Why visit Poitou Charentes?

  • Famous Cognac brandy distilleries
  • Futuroscope multimedia theme park
  • Beaches of La Rochelle and Ile de Re
  • Hiking in the Marais Poitevin marshes

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  • Poitou Charentes 3.0 out of 5 based on354 ratings.
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Places in Poitou Charentes

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Attractions in Poitou Charentes

  • Château de Cognac
    6 out of 10, based on 34 ratings

    For over 200 years Baron Otard cognac has been left to mature in…

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    An absolute must if you are staying in or near Cognac. Visit the…

  • Aquarium La Rochelle
    5 out of 10, based on 27 ratings

    Learn about the fascinating underwater world at this excellent…

  • Croisières Inter Iles
    5 out of 10, based on 26 ratings

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