Former capital of Poitou, the city of Poitiers possesses a rich architectural and religious heritage. Key monument of the historic centre, the Notre-Dame-la-Grande church of the 11th and 12th centuries constitutes a remarkable example of Romanesque art, with its magnificent carved facade dating from the 12th century. Every evening in the summer and during the Christmas holidays, a magnificent light show named Polychromies, restores the bright colours that used to decorate the sculptures on the facade of the church. A magic moment not to be missed...
The visit of Poitiers continues with the imposing Saint-Pierre cathedral, a Gothic building of the 12th and 13th centuries; the Saint-Jean baptistery, one of the most ancient Christian buildings in France; the Palais de Justice (law courts), former palace of the counts of Poitou and the dukes of Aquitaine.
Besides its prestigious monuments, Poitiers abounds with charming narrow streets and lively squares where it is lovely to wander around and pause at one of the numerous cafe and restaurant terraces. Along the stroll, walkers can also admire numerous old houses and mansions, such as the Fumé mansion, the Jehan de Beaucé mansion and the Pélisson mansion.
There is also a good choice of interesting museums, including Sainte-Croix museum with its archaeology and fine art collections, the Rupert de Chièvres museum, which houses 15th- to 18th-century paintings and objets d'art, and the Espace Pierre Mendès France, which puts on science-related exhibitions and special events.