In Poitiers, you can't miss out on Futuroscope that boasts its own train stop! Really handy when you want to have fun on the Tornado Chasers and Destination Mars attractions. Afterwards, you can head off for "the city of a 100 bell towers" on the Vitalis network. On the agenda: the Fine Arts Museum, Romanesque heritage, Blossac Park and a boat tour along the Clain.
In Niort, one of the gateways to the Marais Poitevin Regional Nature Park, you can wander around museums and galleries, check out the Dungeon and indulge in a myriad of local specialities.
If the Atlantic beckons you, then head for La Rochelle. The port-style atmosphere with its yachts is an invitation to sail out to sea, but for those who prefer solid ground, the horizon can also be admired from the tops of the famous Towers. When it comes to culture, the town's a real hub with its museums, national entertainment venue and, of course, its Aquarium!
Time to head inland now to the capital of the 9th art, aka Angoulême. Cité de la BD (and the comics festival held every year in January for the past 50 years), walls painted by artists, as well as the banks of the Charente, Romanesque heritage and more… ever-so romantic 😉
Limoges is listed by Unesco as a Creative City, what more could you ask for! Even though fired-art object (porcelain, enamel, stained glass) know-how dates back to the 18th century, it's still very much alive and highly innovative, as illustrated through ceramic-designed surgical prostheses.
Adrien Dubouché National Museum, Fine Arts Museum, Bernardaud Corporate Foundation, to name but three, a host of sites where a mix of traditional and modern creativeness is showcased.
Another type of know-how is expressed in Aubusson, in particular at the Cité Internationale de la Tapisserie where work from designers and other contemporary creators rubs shoulders with more historic pieces. A must-not-miss while you're here is weaving that depicts scenes from Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki's animated films, following on from the success of the weaving of drawings by JRR Tolkien, creator of Lord of the Rings.
Feeling peckish? Direction Georges Brassens Hall in Brive-la-Gaillarde. Here, producers fill their stands with only the best seasonal produce. Visit an award-winning truffle market, taste walnut wine… and start speaking with the local accent! Now you're ready to head off to watch a Club Athlétique Brive match – we're talking rugby of course. Several well-known festivals take place from spring through to winter.
Stop off in Périgueux on your route to Bordeaux. Enjoy the visit of the cathedral's Byzantine cupolas to take in a panoramic view over the town and surrounding area. You'll discover medieval houses and Renaissance dwellings, the Vesunna Gallo-Roman Museum, (designed by the architect Jean Nouvel, a native of the region), and delightful markets all year round (yes, here too).
There are a thousand and one things to see and to do in Bordeaux, along the Garonne and in the city, in the museums and in the parks, for a romantic break or with family and friends. From here, a host of getaways await…
For example, in Sarlat, a medieval town, a definite gourmet stop-off, there are festivities around geese, truffles and the cinema as well as an "Arts en folie" festival.
Can't-miss Arcachon Bay is just 50 minutes by train. Embrace the slow attitude here… Bikeways will take you from oyster ports to beaches, from Arcachon's Ville d'Hiver district to the Le Teich's ornithological reserve, from Pilat Dune to Cap Ferret lighthouse. Fancy seeing a show? The Olympia Theatre invites you in all year round.
Other scenescapes in the Lot and Garonne Valleys… welcome to Agen. This city, set on a river boasting a majestic aqueduct, a one-of-a-kind structure that bears witness to the feat involved in building the Canal du Midi back in the 18th century. This canal, known as the Canal des Deux Mers (“Two Seas Canal”) here in our region, invites you to delight in wonderful excursions by boat, on foot or by bike. The Fine Arts Museum and tasting the local plums are a definite must.
To finish off, head to the south of the region, first to Mont-de-Marsan and Dax, vibrant hubs of the Landes. Your first stop-off is sculptural (with the Despiau-Wlérick Museum, the only French museum exclusively dedicated to figurative sculpture, and also because of the numerous works of art featured in the streets), the second is thermal (with a host of wellness and fitness centres).
By pursuing your route to the ocean, you'll arrive on the Basque Coast. Seaside resorts (Biarritz, known in French as "queen of beaches and beach of kings" as well as Anglet, Guéthary and Saint-Jean-de-Luz) and historic towns with Bayonne for example. Everyone knows its ham, but did you know that it's also the town where chocolate first arrived? From Basque pelota to street art, the Basque capital bubbles over with treasures to discover.
By turning towards the Pyrénées, you'll arrive at the gateway to Béarn, birthplace of Henry IV and, thanks to the presence of the English, home to the first-ever continental Europe golf course, boasting national stud farms, pampering its heritage such as the neighbouring cirque-style planted Jurançon vineyards… Pau overflows with treasures! To start with, the vista over the Pyrénées mountain tops from boulevard des Pyrénées.