Poitiers, capital of the Poitou-Charente region, in the Vienne department, is a place to visit!
Poitiers , the town of a 100 steeples, is a leisurely 45 mins drive from La Maison Verte taking the scenic route and if you are staying at our guest house then this is defenitely a day out not to be missed.
We went last weekend with our lovely friends over for a short break. The weather was fantastic with 25 degrees and a glorious sun shining from a clear-blue sky.
You arrive in Poitiers and park in the very handy underground-carpark from where you come up right into the most fantastic market! It is partly indoors where you find endless stalls selling local meat and fish and of course, cheese of a million varieties. The market then spreads out onto the main square by the "Notre Dame" church, where the fruit and vegetable stalls compete for the most beautiful display. Here is also quite a few "bric-a-brac" stalls with both antiques and fun "old junk" (as my husband calls it) stalls for you who like to take home a little bit of French memoribilia.
Whilst you are wondering around you are tantalised by the cooking smells from the squares Brasserie "Le Gil". Inevitably this is where we soon ended up. It's tables spread out on the square, in the sun, and it is glorius sitting here with a chilled glass of white wine soaking up the atmosphere.
We had a fricasse of veal kidneys which had possibly the best sauce I have ever tasted! Also barbequed seafood brochettes with huge crevettes and juicy chunks of fish and pave de boeuf which melted in the mouth. All served with perfect french fries cooked in duck-fat! Let's not mention the calories but the flavour is divine!
The shopping centre is sprawling and all is pedestrianised which is lovely. There is every shop you could possibly wish for. Designer and quirky shops and shops with great French chic things for the house.
If you are after a cultural fix then you can go on the Poiters Cathedral route - there are no less than 6 huge churches and of course the main cathedral. There are marked routes for you to follow to take in all the sites. It is really well set up and maps etc are available from the tourist office next to the market.
What is so nice about Poitiers centre is that a lot of it is pedestrianised so it is really peaceful and still there is a such a lovely buzz and atmosphere.
We ended our visit in a old fashioned tea-room with every tea-blend under the sun. They serve "English Scones" on a Saturday and they were great! They specialise in jams infused with different teas - for example, we had raspberry jam infused with Violette tea - they are really nice and it is so cute sitting in the little court yard. A very nice ending to a fantastic day out.
We picked up some great stuff from the market to cook on the campfire on our return home - happy days!!