Let’s Go to Poitou-Charentes 2012
With new flights available, Poitou-Charentes could well be the place to visit this year – whether for a short break ‘a deux’ or a longer holiday with the family. The region is very easily accessible by car from the ferry ports or by train via Eurostar and TGV from St.Pancras. There are, however, a wealth of flights into France from the regions of the UK that make access to Poitou-Charentes even easier in 2012 so maybe this year let the plane take the strain!
London, Birmingham, Bristol, Cork, Dublin, Edinburgh, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford, Manchester, or Southampton to La Rochelle with FlyBe, easyJet, Jet2 and Ryanair
Stay: at ‘A Hotel in Town’ in the historic centre of La Rochelle, one of the most energising towns in France! ‘Un hotel en Ville’ has just eleven comfortable rooms and is within striking distance of the famous Lantern Tower over which there is a view from the terrace. (www.unhotelenville.fr)
Explore: the town of La Rochelle, founded in the tenth century became a major port trading salt and wine. The beautiful old town has vestiges of the merchant’s houses dating from medieval times onwards and four different ports to explore. The Grand Pavois – a European Boat Show is held here every September and there are 3,500 slips in the Minimes or pleasure port alone. There are many concerts throughout the summer – do not miss Jazz between Two Towers in October (classic) and Francofolies in July (rock). (www.holidays-la-rochelle.co.uk)
Visit: the Aquarium – one of the finest privately owned in France. New for 2012 is a space devoted to discovery of the fragile ecosystem of the coastline and the seas. The restaurant on the top floor offers superb views over the town. (www.aquarium-larochelle.com)
Take home: salt from Ile de Ré. From Couarde to Loix, as far as the eye can see, there are acres of white salt marshes that contrast in colour with the green vineyards of the areas further to the north of the island. The salt is a crushed, rock variety sold under their own label or in hypermarkets all over France as ‘own brand’. (www.sel-de-re.com)
Eat: at the famous ‘Les Flots’ Restaurant in the Old Port. Gregory Coutanceau has made this an enviable address for excellent seafood above all is served by a young dynamic team. (www.les-flots.com)
London or Edinburgh to Poitiers with Ryanair
Stay: at the Hotel de la Chapelle (Mercure Poitiers centre) just opened in the centre of Poitiers, a four star property set in an old Jesuit church dating from 1854. The old nave has been turned into the most astonishing bar-brasserie and is adjoined by a tower to the upper floors where there are 50 bedrooms. (www.accordhotels.com)
Explore: Poitiers, the town of one hundred bells and 80 buildings classified as Historical Monuments, some of which are listed as UNESCO sites. It is one of the most important religious sites in France on the road to St Jacques de Compostella. Recently the whole of the centre of Poitiers has been transformed with millions of euros spent on a redesign of the town which has a fresh, clean air to it. (http://uk.poitiers-tourism.com)
Visit: Futuroscope, the second most popular theme park in France celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. More than 40 million people have gone through the gates in that time. Only twenty minutes from Poitiers town centre, the Parc of the moving image is a must see on your itinerary. New for this year is a 3D version of The Little Prince and a totally new creation – imagic, the brainchild of Bertrand Lotth and Arthur Jugnot, although perennial favourites such as Dances with Robots, Dynamic Vienne and The Future is Wild always deliver! (www.futuroscope.com)
Take home: a ‘Broyé de Poitou’ – from any of the patissiers in town. It is a biscuit that resembles sweet, short crust pastry. It is dry and crisp and packed with butter, sugar, almonds and sometimes angelica. Traditionally it is broken using one’s fist rather than cutting with a knife!
Eat: at Le Cristal restaurant – the wonderful molecular cuisine of chef Noel Guthrin is a revelation in itself. Even the menu could win design awards! There are dishes that resemble the attractions of Futuroscope and in colours that defy logic! This is a culinary adventure not to be missed. (www.futuroscope.com)
London to Bordeaux with easyJet, British Airways, Ryanair and FlyBe. Bordeaux Airport is a great gateway to the southern part of the region, the Gironde Estuary and the holiday resort of Royan.
Stay:Le Trident Thyrsé is a fourteen room hotel with a couple of apartments too. All rooms have sea view and terrace where you can enjoy a tasty breakfast. In-keeping with the Fifties feel of Royan the decoration of the hotel is retro in style. The beach is right opposite the hotel and there are glorious views right across the Bay of Royan. (http://letridentthyrse.fr/webgb/accueilbis.htm)
Explore: the charming town of Royan is the largest on the French Atlantic coast between La Baule and Biarritz. It is a beguiling blend of nineteenth century villas – the few left following the Second World War raids – and post 1950’s minimalist design buildings. What Royan does supremely well is provide exceptional facilities for all types of holidaymaker – with five magnificent beaches, excellent sailing options, try the covered market for some local flavour or experience a guided audio tour.(www.royan.co.uk)
Visit: Talmont-sur-Gironde – classified as one of the Most Beautiful Villages of France for its windswept Romanesque Church and narrow streets of whitewashed houses and craft shops. Talmont is at the tip of the northern shore of the Gironde Estuary where France’s oldest lighthouse – Corduan can be found. Typical are the fishermen’s huts on stilts along the shore from where the square nets were lowered into the water for the catch of the day (www.talmont-sur-gironde.fr)
Take home: a bottle of ‘Pineau’ – a speciality of Poitou-Charentes not found anywhere else in France. Drink as an aperitif or even after a meal, on ice or not – it’s up to you. It does make a delicious long drink for the summer and is easily purchased from the local supermarket or a small producer.
Eat: La Jabotière in Royan, close to the Casino, facing the estuary. The cuisine of JM Zimmermann has been recognised by the Gault – Millau guides. (www.lajabotiere.com)
London, Bristol, Edinburgh, Guernsey, Jersey, Nottingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool or Belfast to Limoges with FlyBe and Ryanair. Limoges airport is a great gateway into the east of the region of Poitou-Charentes. It is a short drive (and hour) from the gorgeous town of Angoulême.
Stay: at ‘L’Appart’ – an amazing product of the imagination of two local designers – Nicole Masset and Elisabeth Dreyfus. This is a maisonette that is the crystallisation of all that is most beautiful about contemporary design. Each object from the best modern designers has been especially placed – it is ingenious and original, and includes a Starck kitchen, free-standing bathtub and huge chimney place. (www.entre-les-murs.fr)
Explore: the comic strip capital of France – Angoulême. There is an annual comic strip festival in January, the Comic Strip Museum – just afew years old and crammed with cartoons from all over the world. There is even a cartoon trail through town as there are works on twenty walls that fill one with admiration. (www.angouleme-tourisme.co.uk)
Visit: In September for the annual Circuit des Remparts – when racing cars from bygone eras roar around the old ramparts of the city. This festival of speed has been taking place for the last seventy years or more and attracts Bugatti’s, Bentleys, Cabriolet’s and more from all over the world. The Festival takes place on the third weekend of September. (ww.circuit-des-remparts.com)
Take home: a bottle of cognac from the village of the same name – just a few minutes’ drive away from Angoulême. All the famous brands are here – Martell Hennessy, Courvoisier, Rémy Martin, Otard, Hine, Meukow … Camus has recently introduced a Master Blender programme where one may take part in one of the vital stages of the creation of cognac. (www.camus.fr)
Eat: in ‘La Ruelle’– opened in 2009 by Guillaume Veyssière whose focus is on original, gourmet dishes. He has as much passion about his cooking as he did fifteen years ago when he begun to learn his craft on the French Riviera (Candille) and Brussels (Chez Bruno). (www.restaurant-laruelle.com)
Note to editors: With its equitable climate, Poitou-Charentes – the sunniest part of western France – is an area where you can enjoy many attractions. Visitors may enjoy for example the famous and unique Marais Poitevin, also known as Venice Verte, which connects the Poitou and the Vendée; the historic port of La Rochelle with its fine restaurants and magnificent sites; Futuroscope – a theme park for the senses; Cognac and Poitiers – the regional capital.
For further information visit: www.holidays-france-atlantic.com
Follow Poitou-Charentes on Twitter: @VisitPCharentes
This press release is posted at www.magellan-pr.com/press.html Magellan Public Relations : Forty One Church Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 4NQ, UK