Poitou-Charentes forms a region in western France along the Atlantic Ocean and is bounded to the north by Pays de la Loire , to the east by Centre and Limousin and to the south by Aquitaine.
The Poitou-Charentes region consists of 4 départements: the Deux-Sevres (département 79), the Vienne (département 86), the Charente-Maritime (département 17) and the Charente (département 16).
Poitou-Charentes’ population is 1.70 million and its surface area is 25,800 km².
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Town Property Guides
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The Atlantic Coast and its treasures
No less than 450 kilometers of coastline wend their way down the Charente seashore.
Between high and low seas, the long sandy beaches bordered by pine trees alternate with chalky cliffs and wild sites.
The Atlantic seaboard of the Poitou-Charentes region is protected by four islands, of which the two largest, Oléron (175 km2) and Ré (85 Km2) are connected to the continent by bridges.
The mild climate and the beautifully preserved environment render these arpents of earth near the land mass akin to paradise.
La Rochelle : Beauteous and mutinous
The fortified town, La Rochelle has built its splendour on and around the ocean.
The cultural and architectural heritage of this one-time fishing village sheds light on its maritime vocation: the towers on the lookout over the entrance to the ancient port, the large clock, the Renaissance abodes of the old-time ship-owners, the arcaded shop-lined streets, the museums and even the giant aquarium…
The port of the Minimes, not far from the Isle of Re, reveals the maritime renaissance of La Rochelle at its best, with beautiful yachts and schooners entering this venerable port from all over the world.
On the oyster road: the island of Oléron
With its 90 km of coasts (total area: 175 km2), Oléron is the second largest island of metropolitan France ( Corsica is the largest one).
It is connected to the continent by a viaduct, which is three kilometers long. Centre of French oyster raising, this isle is ringed by innumerable parks and basins where the famous oysters of Marennes-Oléron undergo refinement.
Ever since the end of the 19th century, the mild climate and the gorgeous beaches attract boats and car filled with tourists who are then won over by the village with the low houses, the picturesque roads, the vast forests of maritime pines and green oaks, the beaches with their fine sand, the ports, the marshlands, oak groves…
The Island of Ré: the pearl of the ocean
With its long ribbons of fine sand and the mildness of its climate, this island is the preferred rendez-vous for amateurs of warm sun and fresh air.
Just off the harbour of La Rochelle, this pearl of the ocean is linked to the continent by a bridge.
Whatever the season, the island is a safe haven for happy bike riders. Over 100 kilometers of bicycle paths traverse it from one corner to the other, in the midst of pines, vines, natural reserves and salty marshlands.
Beacons for seafarers, the bell towers signal the existence of the ports and white villages whose streets are lined with the roses known as hollyhocks.
And the green shutters shield the houses from the ardours of the afternoon sun.
A land of traditions and legends
Poitou-Charentes is a land of traditions in which History conserves a place of choice in the hearts of the inhabitants. In the town centres or near the fortifications, each monument bears the indelible trace of Roman art. For countless generations, the men and women of Poitou-Charentes have conserved and showcased a discreet and inexhaustible treasure ofmyths and legends.
For the curious, this is a true invitation to time travel…
Tales and Legends: from the “Grand Goule” to Mélusine
Poitou-Charentes cultivates its roots. In this rural land, counts, legends and traditions are still transmitted from one generation to the next.
This is quite notably the case with the “Fée Mélusine” (the fairy from Melle…).
If the legend is to be believed, this female building wizard of the Middle Ages was endowed with unlimited powers.
It was as if by magic that she conjured up the castles and fortresses in the vicinity of Lusignan, thereby ensuring the fortune and power of her family.
Another legend stemming from the popular imagination is that of the “Grand Goule”: Half snake half dragon, this mythological animal had set up shop on the subterranean confines of the Abbey of Sainte-Croix, in Poitiers.
After having sown terror throughout the town, the terrifying beast was overpowered by the courageous Sainte Radegonde.
Romanesque art: under more than one influence
The Orient, Celtic and barbaric arts, the Old and the New Testament, Apocalypse, the Evangelists…
In Poitou-Charentes, Roman edifices bear witness to fervent architecture, moulded by influences, fashioned by invention but also touched by a sence of measure and balance.
On the road to Saint Jacques of Compostella, hundreds of Roman churches are scattered across the Poitou and Saintonge cityscapes and countrysides, lands of passage propitious to the art of building. In the 11th and 12th century, construction sites thrived throughout the region.
Great aesthetical pleasures are guarantedd; discover with wonder the Cathedral Saint-Pierre of Angoulême, the church Notre-Dame of Poitiers and so many other sites, to boot…
Monuments: Poitou-Charentes, a Roman land
In Poitou-Charentes, the wealth of the religious patrimony is decidedly dominated by Roman art.
The 600 monuments, criss-crossing the region, represent a form of architecture born in the 10th century on the roads to Saint Jacques of Compostelle.
A fervent architecture, chock full of influences, it stems from invention yet celebrates balance and a sense of measure.
The mural paintings of Saint-Savin illustrate the perfected art of the Roman fresco, while the churches of Saintes, Poitiers, Chauvigny, Melle, Aulnay, Civray, Lichères and Talmont remain among the best known, the most renowned edifices.
Museums: living memories of the past
Comic books in Angoulême, auto and moto in Châtellerault, Marine in Rochefort, furniture and regional objects in Saintes or Niort, Beaux-Arts (fine arts) in Poitiers, La Rochelle, Niort, Saintes, Cognac, Angoulême etc…peasant traditions in Ranton , silver mines in Melle…
In the four corners of the territory, Poitou-Charentes hosts an incalculable number of museums exhibiting and valorizing artwork collections and diversified objects of historic, aesthetic or scientific interest.
Testimony of regional history, these places of study and conservations of the cultural wealth are to be sampled and savoured without moderation, throughout the year.
Marais poitevin, Charente valley, Atlantic coast…
From country green to ocean blue, the region showers lovers of nature with a multitude of colors. Canoe trip amateurs or seasoned hikers, the new “explorers” of Poitou-Charentes shall venture from one surprise to the next.
Marais poitevin: The green Venice
Crown jewel of the natural regional patrimony, “Green Venice” is a veritable treasure of beauty encased in greenery.
The Marais poitevin lives in accordance with its dozens of kilometers of canals used by the marshland dwellers on their “flats”, the raft-like contraptions they easily steer with their “pigouilles” (oars). The realm of the “wet” marsh displays its finest features near Niort, whereas those deemed “dried” are visible near the Atlantic.
Two different sceneries, two different atmospheres.
While vegetation may be luxurious in Deux-Sèvres, the horizon seems far more bereft of greenery as it approaches the ocean.
Sport and outdoor activities
Golf: Follow the yellow brick road…
The dry thud of the club, the white green-tinted ball that flies away, the horizon being torn apart…
No doubt about it, you are on one of the numerous greens of Poitou-Charentes. Royan, Angoulême, Niort, Poitiers…
Wherever they may be within the region, swing addicts may give themselves over to their favourite pastime within a few miles of their place of residence.
As for the beginners, they can get started in the Poitou-Charentes golf centres featuring nine and eighteen holes.
Horse riding activities
What do you prefer? A gallop along a beach on the Atlantic coast, a ride along the paths trodden by pilgrims heading for Santiago de Compostela or a trail ride through vast forests, crossing fords and exploring the mysterious marshes? The Poitou-Charentes Region has so much to offer beginners or more experienced riders in search of nature at its most real or a chance to perfect their riding technique. Professionals always delighted to share their passionate love of horses.
Dizziness-inducing images of the Futuroscope, ancient salt marshes conquered by birds, animal parks, the Aquarium of La Rochelle, all in all Poitou-Charentes offers moments of unforgettable discoveries and sensations.
Art de vivre
At the crossroads between the North and the South, between slate and tile, the “oc” and the oïl” languages, Poitou-Charentes is a land of mixing, of passageways, of opening up. Its astonishing diversity is expressed in terms of a genuine art of living harmonizing conviviality and authenticity. It is here that all generations, creations and sensibilities cohabit, between pleasure and emotion.
Gastronomy: the savors of Poitou-Charentes
Oysters of Marennes-Oléron, Chabichou cheese, cognac, Pineau des Charentes, AOC butter, goat cheese, lamb, mojhettes, snails …
The list is far from being exhaustive and attests to the extraordinary gastronomic wealth of Poitou-Charentes, where nature is generous and abundantly provides the products necessary for a healthful and authentic cuisine.
Renowned for their savours, the gems of the land regale gourmets and occupy a place of choice in the best of restaurants.
Tasting and visits: follow the guide
For over four centuries, Cognac has constituted one of the “fleurons” of Poitou-Charentes.
So, as to allow one to uncover all the secrets of this “liqueur of the gods”, as Victor Hugo termed it, the large trade houses propose guided visits.
On the agenda: discovery of the distillation rooms, the wine stores, the domains … and a tasting session.
Tourism office in Poitou-Charentes:
Poitou-Charentes touristic guide:
Flights from the UK
By air: The region has three international airports: Poitiers, Limoges and La Rochelle.
Ryanair and Air France fly to La Rochelle, Limoges and Poitiers.
Our team of sale advisers at Sextant Properties will be happy to help you to find a property in Poitou-Charentes. We have a large network of estate agents in Poitou-Charentes. All of them are registered French estate agents and speak both French and English. Whatever kind of property you are looking for: farmhouse, longere, barn, gite, B&B, country house, mill, castle or chateau, we will do our best to find a property in Poitou-Charentes matching your requirements. To find out more about our properties for sale in Poitou-Charentes do not hesitate to contact us.