Poitiers & Futuroscope (and beyond)

The attractions shown below all lie to the north and east of Chez Robineau.

A white-knuckle ride at Futuroscope


Chasseneuil-du-Poitou (1 hour from Chez Robineau)


One of the largest theme parks in France, Futuroscope has enough to keep a family occupied for at least a day. The park has 40 attractions to try out, including a 4D film about chasing tornados and an indoor/outdoor roller-coaster ride simulating a ride to Mars, or perhaps the gentler story of the fox and the grumpy bear or the upside-down house, ending with a spectacular evening show and fireworks. For those with less time available, reduced-price tickets are available for entry after 5pm.

Visit Futuroscope's web site >

Notre-Dame-La-Grande church in Poitiers


(55 minutes)


The capital of the Vienne département, Poitiers has a history stretching back to the Roman period and beyond. Key sites to see are the medieval Palais des Comtes de Poitou-Ducs d'Aquitaine, St Peter's Cathedral (built for Eleanor of Aquitaine and king Henry II of England), Notre-Dame-La-Grande church and the 4th-century Saint John's Baptistery. There are museums of art and curios, as well as your choice of restaurants, cafés and bar to sample.

The Roman Theatre at Sanxay


(50 minutes)


One of the largest Gallo-Roman towns in south-west France, occupied from the 1st to 4th centuries AD, the site at Sanxay has on display the remains of a theatre, bath house and temple to Apollo. The site is open most days, and has free entry for those aged 25 year or less. Each August, an open-air opera is staged in the Roman theatre: this year [2024] it is La Bohème by Puccini.

Visit the Sanxay Roman Town web site >

Visit the Opera Sanxay web site >

Looking up to the medieval city of Chauvigny


(1 hour)


An old medieval city on a rocky spur above the modern town, Chauvigny has much to see: the Château of the Bishops of Poitiers, Château d'Harcourt, the Church of St Peter and the medieval city itself, all surrounded by ramparts. The city hosts Les Géants du Ciel, a show where falcons, eagles and other large birds (and some smaller ones too) are exhibited or flown over the audience. The town also has a vélo-rail (imagine two bicycles joined by a platform, used to cycle along a disused railway line) and a brocante on the second Sunday of the month.

Picture of a Crocodile

Terre de Dragons

Civaux (50 minutes)


A tropical dome replete with 300 reptiles: crocodiles and alligators, turtles and snakes, plus many more. Visitors help Lara discover the fate of her grandfather, who crash-landed in this "land of dragons", while exploring the jungle terrain, scaling net bridges and learning about the life of reptiles. Our family loved it and spent most of the day there.

Visit the Terre de Dragons web site >

The bridge and medieval city at Montmorillon

Montmorillon: la Cité de l’Écrit

(1 hour)


Taking a lead from Hay-on-Wye as a centre for literature and books, Montmorillon (on Gartempe) has taken to its heart the craft of bookmaking and the sale of books. What better occupation for a warm summer afternoon, after a good lunch, than to wander through the narrow lanes of the medieval city, casting an eye over the second-hand booksellers stock of old and second-hand books? The town also organises a number of craft events during the summer, as well as hosting a museum of typewriters and calculating machines, and the (surely unique) museum of almonds and macaroons.

Racing cars on the track at Circuit du Val de Vienne

Circuit du Val de Vienne

Le Vigeant (40 minutes)


The Vienne's own motor racing circuit, with racing events scheduled for several weekends of the year. A major event of the year since 1995 has been the "500 Ferraris against cancer" meet, held at the end of May / beginning of June to raise funds for the cancer departments of Poitier's University Hospital. There are an unusually large number of Ferraris on the roads around here that weekend. The circuit encourages spectators to attend events, and offers a racing experience, if you want to try out the track.

Visit the circuit's web site >

Preparing to run the zip-wire at l'Isle-Jordain


(40 minutes)


L'Isle Jordain is dominated by its old railway viaduct. This now provides a lovely smooth level footpath with great views, but also it is the base for bungie-jumping in the area. Jumps don't come cheap, but it is certainly an attraction for the adrenalin-junkies out there. Also available is a zip-wire that crosses the broad river and goes through the viaduct, and a "Go-Ape" style treetop trail. The town has a number of bars and restaurants, and plenty of green space if you prefer lunch from a boulangerie or the large supermarket.

Visit the Bungie-Jump web site >

The Old Bridge and town of Confolens


(40 minutes)


Another town straddling the Vienne river, Confolens has lots of history with its 14th-century bridge and houses dating back to the 15th century. The town is host to an international cultural festival each August, which runs for 8 days. Confolens is also home to the Charente-Limousine Vélorail Train, which again provides the vélo-rails to allow you to cycle along a disused railway track or (more rarely) to travel on one of the heritage trains housed there.

Visit the Confolens Festival web site >

Visit the Charente-Limousine Vélorail Train web site >

The Château at Saumur

Vallée de la Loire & Châteaux

(2 hours)


A little further afield to the north is the Loire Valley, with its many châteaux and vineyards. Some of the grander châteaux to look around include those at Angers, Saumur, Chinon, Amboise, Chenonceaux and Chambord. The Abbaye de Fontevraud is the resting place of Eleanor of Aquitaine and English kings Henry II and Richard the Lionheart. Along the riverside you will find troglodyte villages cut into the cliff face, a cooling rest-stop for when the day gets to its hottest, or perhaps visit a vineyard to try their best wines.

Visit the My Loire Valley web site >