The towns and villages of character are Poitou's main asset, although they are far from being its only tourist attraction. Poitiers offers architecture-lovers a rich heritage, including the majestic Romanesque Church of Our Lady the Great (Notre-Dame-la-Grande). From one town to another, there are many treasures to be discovered: the heritage of Thouars, a listed Town of Art and History, the historic centre of Niort, and the medieval towns of Parthenay and Chauvigny, the latter having five castles.
The region also abounds in seaside resorts with lengthy names, a joy for summer holidaymakers: Les Sables-d'Olonne, Saint-Jean-de-Monts, Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie and La Tranche-sur-Mer. Meanwhile, the spa resort of La Roche-Posay welcomes visitors taking the waters. There is also no shortage of listed villages. Angles-sur-l'Anglin, on the riverside, cannot fail to enchant visitors with the ruins of its medieval castle and the harmony of its built environment. As for Vouvant, it proudly displays its beautiful Romanesque church, ramparts and old bridge. In the surrounding countryside, the oak forest of Mervent-Vouvant is a nice place for long, soothing walks.
A number of iconic attractions add to Poitou's prestige. The Puy du Fou park is famous for its unmissable Cinéscénie show, and the Futuroscope park's reputation for dynamic and futuristic sensory attractions is well established. Yet there are many other gems to discover. Visitors who are curious about the past can travel back to Neolithic times at the Museum of the Bougon Tumulus, or admire the Romanesque triad of Melle. Those who are wild about the animal kingdom can meet the 500 European specimens living at the Zoodyssée, or the 350 or so primates residing at Monkey Valley (Vallée des Singes).
The big natural areas are also very appealing. Noirmoutier island, which is accessed via the Passage du Gois, is a must-see, but the wild and authentic Yeu Island has nothing to envy it. The Poitevin Marsh, thanks to its remarkable diversity, will enchant fans of wildlife and plants, while the Vendée corniche and the rocks of its wild coast will delight seaside strollers!