A small yet vibrant city in the heart of France, Poitiers is perhaps most well-known for being a major seat of education. The University of Poitiers has been around for close to eight centuries and has become a major part of the city. Its students contribute greatly to the nightlife and culture of the city, where nightclubs and bars are often abuzz near the main campus. Elsewhere in Poitiers, it’s easy to see how spirituality has had an impact on the cityscape. A massive cathedral and several churches stand proudly among all the municipal buildings and houses, although there are plenty of other buildings of note, especially in and around the university. It’s also a city with the future in mind, especially as it has its own research park.
A small car is perfect for the centre of Poitiers, especially if you want to find somewhere to park and require sufficient space. It would also be good for some of the older roads.
Driving in Poitiers
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
Although the easiest road to drive on is the A10, traffic from the airport, university and Futuroscope can lead to gridlock during summer holidays.
Driving around the city centre has been made more difficult by a programme of pedestrianizing several streets. Try to park outside the city centre if you can.
Poitiers is home to a TGV high-speed rail station. Parking near there can be hard, especially during weekdays when commuters flock to and from the station.
Highlights & Hotspots
Poitiers is home to the oldest church in France, Baptistière Saint-Jean. Built in the 4th century, it still stands today, having been kept in good condition by those in charge of its upkeep. Tours of the church and its grounds are available from time to time.
Although much newer than the church, the Cathedral Saint-Pierre is arguably more impressive. Again, it’s possible to tour the building, but it looks at its most impressive from the outside. It’s a great place for a little quiet contemplation if you’re in the mood.
Just over six miles north of the city centre, the Parc du Futuroscope theme park is a must if visiting with the kids. Many of the rides here are as thrilling as those you might find at, say, a theme park in the UK or closer to Paris.
Poitiers is within easy reach of other cities in the area such as Tours or La Rochelle. Both have their own charms and may offer a welcome change of scenery if spending a week or two in Poitiers, although car travel is the best way to get there.
Poitiers-Biard Airport is located 1.5 miles west of the city centre near the village of Biard. It has direct links to the nearby TGV rail station and serves as a stopping point for flights to London-Stansted, Edinburgh and Manchester.
The airport is close to the D910, which is the city‚Äôs inner ring road. It‚Äôs also pretty close to the centre of Poitiers, which is accessible via the Rue Georges Guynemer which connects to a bridge leading to the centre.