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The Poitou Charentes region consists of four departments:
16 Charente – main city Angouleme 17 Charente Maritime – main city La Rochelle 79 Deux Sevres – main city Niort 86 Vienne – main city Poitiers
Regional capital: Poitiers
Poitou-Charentes is a tranquil and largely unspoilt region halfway down the West coast of France. It has a long Atlantic coastline and fine sandy beaches, marinas and holiday resorts. The important ports such as La Rochelle became gateways to the Americas. There are a number of islands off the regions coast such as nineteen-mile long Ile d’Oléron which is popular with naturists and whose main industry is oyster catching. Another island, Ile de Ré is known for its salt marshes and is reputed to receive more hours of sunshine than anywhere else in France away from the Mediterranean. On the mainland Royan, at the southern tip of the region, is a busy tourist resort with five well-kept but congested beaches, or conches as they’re referred to.
The marshes of Marais Poitevin, often called France’s Venice can be found inland. Fields can be explored by rowing boat or kayak along the canals which were built by eleventh century monks. Close to Poitiers is the Futuroscope theme park where cinema and special effects are pushed to their limit in an attempt to glimpse into the future of visual technology whilst providing an educational experience. It also claims to have the biggest screen in Europe.
Farming is important to the economy and wheat, corn melons and sunflowers are important crops. The dairy industry is also important and there are many cattle farms. There are also many vineyards. Away from agriculture, there are many industries producing machinery and chemicals. Niort, in the department of Deux-Sèvres, is well-known throughout France for being the main centre of the French insurance industry.
Regional alcohols are Cognac and pineau des Charentes. The vins de pays wines here are: – Charentais, – Deux-Sèvres – and Vienne. The best-known culinary specialties here are eel matelote, broyé poitevin, caillebottes, Montmorillon macaroons, and éclade. Regional Cheeses are Chabichou du Poitou, Chabis, chèvre du Poitou, Chavroux, faisselle, brebis d’Oléron, and bûche du Poitou.
By Car – The A10 Autoroute connects Poitou-Charentes to Paris to the north, while the Route Nationale 10 will take you to Bordeaux to the south. The drive from Paris to the region’s capital city of Poitiers is 338 km, or a little over 3 hours.
By Boat – Britanny Ferries, Condor Ferries, Hoverspeed-Fast, Norfolkline, P&O ferries, Sea-France, Speedferries and Transmanche Ferries (in the U.K.) have regular links with French Channel Ports. All the ports are within half a day drive from Poitou-Charentes.
By Train – from Paris – gare Montparnasse: The TGV Atlantique service runs to the high-speed train station at the Futuroscope (1 hour 20) and the stations in Poitiers (1 hour 30), Angouleme (2 hours and 15), Niort (2 hours 12) and La Rochelle (2 hours 51).
From Paris – Gare d’Austerlitz: express services run to the same destinations and Cognac, Saintes, Rochefort and Royan.
From Bordeaux – there are services to Angouleme (52 minutes) and Poitiers (1 hour 34).
From Lille – Europe: connections with Eurostar services, there are daily direct services to Poitiers (3 hours 30) and Angouleme (4 hours 15)
By Plane – Air Linair (French only) operates flights between Lyon and both La Rochelle Airport and Poitiers Airport.
RGTS Europe Ltd operates a weekly small removal service, light haulage, motorcycle transport to and from the Poitou Charentes region. from a few boxes to full house move contents, furniture removals, diy goods, scooters.