A stroll through history and the sweet life in Poitiers

Would you like to combine history with la dolce vita? Poitiers, a town steeped in history, lies over 300 kilometres south of Paris. German travel blogger Tobias Hoiten shares fascinating culinary venues and takes you on a trip into the past.

Don Quixote and the wine: Rocinante wine bar

In the middle of Grand Rue, a street full of original shops, galleries and crafts persons, lies the Rocinante wine bar. The name says it all. But Rocinante isn’t just the name of Don Quixote’s horse, but it also means ‘friends’ in German. So, here you can discover the wine cellar in company or with friends and sample homemade local snacks and wines. In company is naturally most fun, wouldn’t you say?

Dinner in a former church: recommended by the Michelin Guide

Right in the nave of a former Jesuit chapel is the restaurant ‘Les Archives’, adjoining the Hotel Mercure next door. The huge hall with its contemporary columns creates a unique atmosphere. And the menu is seasonal and creative. No wonder then, that Les Archives received the Bib Gourmand from the Michelin Guide for its fresh food with excellent value for money.

Dinner in a former church: recommended by the Michelin Guide

Right in the nave of a former Jesuit chapel is the restaurant ‘Les Archives’, adjoining the Hotel Mercure next door. The huge hall with its contemporary columns creates a unique atmosphere. And the menu is seasonal and creative. No wonder then, that Les Archives received the Bib Gourmand from the Michelin Guide for its fresh food with excellent value for money.

A stroll through the history of time

A stroll through the centre of the 90,500 inhabitant town is like a stroll through the history of time. With the Palace of Poitiers, the seat of the Counts of Poitou and the Dukes of Aquitaine, the church Notre-Dame la Grande, the Saint-Pierre cathedral and Place du Maréchal Leclerc there are many historic buildings that can be reached on foot. And don’t forget the Baptistery Saint Jean, one of the oldest Christian buildings in Europe dating from the 7th century.

One of the most popular restaurants: Le Vingelique

Fancy spending lunchtime on a beautiful terrace in a courtyard with a garden? Le Vingelique is near to the town hall and offers many seasonal specialities. These include lobster salad with avocado and lime or a fondant of spicy chocolate as a dessert. This is one of the town’s most popular restaurants, so especially at lunchtime there is a lot going on.

One of the most popular restaurants: Le Vingelique

Fancy spending lunchtime on a beautiful terrace in a courtyard with a garden? Le Vingelique is near to the town hall and offers many seasonal specialities. These include lobster salad with avocado and lime or a fondant of spicy chocolate as a dessert. This is one of the town’s most popular restaurants, so especially at lunchtime there is a lot going on.

Pure architecture in Hôtel Gilbert

Hôtel Gilbert is a manor house in which today, Poitiers’ administrative court resides. It’s located in Rue de Blossac and is perfect for a short stop off on a bike ride to Parc de Blossac. If you do stop here, you must have a look at the entrance hall with its massive staircase and impressive glass dome.

Into the countryside: off to Parc de Blossac

Parc de Blossac is within easy reach of the town by bike. This large park is Poitiers’ green lung, laid out in 1753. Here you’ll also find an English garden alongside the French garden, which is lovingly tended. There’s something to discover everywhere. Birds sitting in the trees or the ducks on the pond – here you can really switch off.

Into the countryside: off to Parc de Blossac

Parc de Blossac is within easy reach of the town by bike. This large park is Poitiers’ green lung, laid out in 1753. Here you’ll also find an English garden alongside the French garden, which is lovingly tended. There’s something to discover everywhere. Birds sitting in the trees or the ducks on the pond – here you can really switch off.

Garden of Eden: the Tison islet

Good if you’ve got a bike. The tiny island of Tison lies beneath the mountain in a real idyll. The nature and of course water, invite you to take a walk or even a nap. The water of a small waterfall quietly splashes, whilst further away people try out Stand Up Paddling. Where there used to be an old saw-mill, today many events are held. Right on the water. Time to treat yourself to a break.

Dinner at a bustling location: La Serrurerie

La Serrurerie in Poitiers is a focal point for everyone. Students, families or tourists – everyone gathers here. La Serrurerie doesn’t just offer lunch and dinner, you can also enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. The mood is laid-back because it’s right on Place de l’hôtel de ville, the lively centre of town.

Dinner at a bustling location: La Serrurerie

La Serrurerie in Poitiers is a focal point for everyone. Students, families or tourists – everyone gathers here. La Serrurerie doesn’t just offer lunch and dinner, you can also enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. The mood is laid-back because it’s right on Place de l’hôtel de ville, the lively centre of town.

Discover la dolce vita in one of the many independent shops

Poitiers’ centre is full of lots of independent destinations in which you shouldn’t only browse, but also buy something to take away. The Fromagerie Jérémie Chosson displays excellent varieties of cheese, the macarons from Rannou Métivier are only a stone’s throw. The sweet life in Poitiers plays out right in the centre, in shops that you’ll only find here and which are known for their outstanding quality.
A bit further along the Grand Rue you’ll also find many studio shops like an old umbrella manufacturer. Crafts are important here.

Lunchtime surrounded by lots of artisans: L’Essentiel selon Pierric Casadebaig

The ‘L’essentiel selon Pierric Casadebaig’ in the Grand Rue, has the nickname, ‘Montmartre de Poitiers’. In the artisans’ beautiful surroundings, know-how meets tradition and elegance. L’essentiel selon Pierric Casadebaig also works exclusively with local products and offers a seasonal menu. If you’re lucky you may get to experience jazz night at the L’essentiel; it’s held once a month.

Lunchtime surrounded by lots of artisans: L’Essentiel selon Pierric Casadebaig

The ‘L’essentiel selon Pierric Casadebaig’ in the Grand Rue, has the nickname, ‘Montmartre de Poitiers’. In the artisans’ beautiful surroundings, know-how meets tradition and elegance. L’essentiel selon Pierric Casadebaig also works exclusively with local products and offers a seasonal menu. If you’re lucky you may get to experience jazz night at the L’essentiel; it’s held once a month.

Witness history in Musée Sainte Croix

In the Musée Sainte Croix, a much faster stroll through the history of time. There are many display items such as stones from Neanderthal man via Roman vases to paintings from the eighteenth century. All the exhibits were found in this area around Poitiers that is so rich in history, and displayed here. You can even touch archaeology here in the museum. The remains of buildings from the Roman period 2000 years ago were uncovered here, and even make up part of the museum.

Tip: Stay in the best hotel in town: Hotel Mercure

The Hotel Mercure is honestly the best hotel in town and is a highlight of any stay in Poitiers. In the centre of town near to the TAP-Théâtre Auditorium de Poitiers, the hotel was created from a former Jesuit chapel. The foundation walls from 1854 are rediscovered in the hotel’s architecture and blend in with the contemporary furnishings. Incredible to wake up here and go for breakfast.

Tip: Stay in the best hotel in town: Hotel Mercure

The Hotel Mercure is honestly the best hotel in town and is a highlight of any stay in Poitiers. In the centre of town near to the TAP-Théâtre Auditorium de Poitiers, the hotel was created from a former Jesuit chapel. The foundation walls from 1854 are rediscovered in the hotel’s architecture and blend in with the contemporary furnishings. Incredible to wake up here and go for breakfast.