On the western coast of France, the peaceful Poitou-Charentes area has a number of villages, Cognac-producing vineyards, and plenty of farmhouse-dotted countryside. The region is largely rural and often overlooked by tourists, but its coastal areas, unspoiled landscape, and culinary delights make it a worthy day trip from Bordeaux.
Most visitors to Poitou-Charentes are drawn to the beaches, but the region has more to offer than just seaside pleasures. Angoulême is home to a museum dedicated solely to comics, and Poitiers is home to Futuroscope, France’s most popular amusement park, featuring high-tech attractions and futuristic architecture.
The Poitou-Charentes region is a large producer of Cognac, Armagnac brandy, Angelica liqueur, and Pineau des Charentes wine. Foodies will enjoy sampling the cuisine unique to Poitou-Charentes, including fish, oysters, cheeses, meats, and sweets. The traditional Poitou-Charentes cheesecake (tourteau fromagé) is a must-try.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Poitou-Charentes is a must-visit region of France for afficandos of liqueur and cognac.
- The region is famous for its oysters, fresh fish, and seafood, so bring your appetite.
- The Poitou-Charentes area offers several family-friendly museums and activities.
How to Get There
Bordering the Atlantic Ocean, the Poitou-Charentes region of France lies between the Loire Valley and the vineyards of Bordeaux. Most travelers visit on a day trip from the more popular Loire Valley, Brittany, or Bordeaux. Poitou-Charentes is easily accessible by car, and major rail lines service both La Rochelle and Poitiers. Regional trains service most small towns.
When to Get There
Summer is the busiest time to visit, but the beaches of La Rochelle bring in smaller crowds than the French Riviera. The climate of Poitou-Charentes is one of the mildest in France, and the coastal areas claim to be one of the sunniest regions of France outside the Mediterranean coast, so you can expect pleasant weather.
Visiting Cognac Distilleries
Cognac is not just a brandy, but a town in the heart of Poitou-Charentes where Cognac is made. In order for a brandy to be called Cognac, it must be made from grapes grown in the Charente and Charente-Maritime regions of France. Famous Cognac distilleries such as Rémy Martin, Martell, Baron Otard, and Hennessy are found in central Cognac. Learn how Cognac is made and sample an array of high-end brandy with a tasting tour of the region’s Cognac distilleries.