Explore the stunning natural beauty of Poitou-Charentes
Each month, we speak to different French natives and ask them to share the “best of” their beloved regions. This month, we will travel to Poitou-Charentes, host to one of France's most exciting ventures this year: the launch of the replica of the Hermione frigate. This historic ship carried the Marquis de Lafayette and his troops from France to aid the Americans during the Revolutionary War. After initial tests in 2014, the Hermione will set sail on April 18, 2015 and arrive in Yorktown on June 5. From here, she will visit key cities along the east coast of America including Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore and New York before returning to France in August 2015.
In celebration of this historic event, we wanted to take the opportunity to focus on this lesser-known region! Sandrine Pailloncy, International Tourism Officer, will guide us through Poitou-Charentes, its rich gastronomical heritage, and its stunning natural beauty.
Atout France: Describe your favorite view of Poitou-Charentes
Sandrine Pailloncy: I would definitely say the view from the top of the “Phare des Baleines” (The Whales Lighthouse), at the end of the Ile de Re. From there, you can see the beach and the major part of the island. You are facing the ocean, facing the vastness. I go there often not only for work but also in my free time.
AF: If you only had 24 hours in Poitou-Charentes, where would you eat and drink?
SP: I would start my day by having my breakfast outdoors at the port of La Rochelle, facing the towers. I would then go to Oleron and taste oysters at a local oyster-farm. After that, I would walk along the Charente and stop to taste some Pineau des Charentes at a small producer. My tour would then lead me to a famous Cognac producer, perhaps Maison Camus. They organize a “Master blender,” which is a workshop that gives visitors the opportunity to learn and blend their own cognac by choosing among the spirits crus. People leave with their name on the bottle! At night, I recommend going to a restaurant in Cognac or nearby. Wherever I go, I make sure to order a Cognac soufflé for dessert!
AF: When is your favorite season in Poitou-Charentes and why?
SP: September ! The temperature is ideal, the same as in summertime but it’s less crowded. You can enjoy the late fall and its beautiful light on the coast. I love taking advantage of this month to go biking on the Ile de Re, just before the harvest. And in Poitiers or La Rochelle, it’s still nice enough to sit outdoors!
If you need more information about Poitou-Charentes, please contact
International Tourism Officer
+33 5 16 01 40 48