These two regions on the west coast of France are popular destinations for holiday makers and property buyers – so this article compares Poitou-Charentes or Aquitaine. The most familiar area is the Dordogne department in the Aquitaine, and on the coast of Poitou-Charentes the lovely resorts of La Rochelle and Royan. From a property perspective Dordogne property has been more expensive but property prices have been dropping in the Aquitaine. In Poitou-Charentes property is more expensive on the coast but inland areas such as Vienne and Charente departments are much cheaper especially in rural areas.
Facts about Poitou-Charentes: The region is located in South West France and is one of 22 regions that are known as metropolitan France, or parts of France that is comprised of people from all over Europe. The 22 regions are divided into four departments: Charente, Charente-Maritime, Deux-Severes, and Vienne.
Tourism, together with livestock and dairy farming are very important to Poitou-Charentes, and as a result there are plenty of attractions for travellers and tourists to visit. Much of the surrounding regions are also good places to visit, and thanks to the excellent service and reliability of the French transport system, visiting a neighbouring region is not a problem.
Le Château de Septème
Le Château de Septème translates to “The Castle of Septème” and was originally the site of a Roman camp, which was built at the “Seventh Point”, which is where the name Septème originates. In all probability, the camp was established as a stop off point for Roman troops while travelling along the Roman road that ran from Vienna to Milan.
The castle was built in AD 900, but was restored in the 15th and 16th centuries. Situated at a top of a hill it overlooks local villages. Originally it was designed and built to protect the old village. The castle’s architecture is one that continues to astonish visitors due its beauty.
The ramparts, the battlements, and remains from the old city it used to protect have been classified as a historical monument of France.
The history of the castle is rich, and no visit to the region is complete without a visit to this historical beauty.
Futuroscope Amusement Park Futuroscope is an amusement park which has the future as a central theme. IMAX theatres and robotic rides where you sit in the seat attached to a robot arm are just two of the attractions on offer at this exciting place.
Futuroscope utilises IMAX technology to simulate flying over mountains, being catapulted into space, and being submerged in the ocean. One of the Futroscope attractions has been designed by legendary film maker, Luc Besson.
Futuroscope makes a great day trip for families, especially as many of the attractions are interactive.
Abbey Church of Saint-Savin Sur Gartempe
The abbey Church of Saint-Savin Sur Gartempe is a Roman Esq. building which was started in the 11th century and completed in the 14th. What makes this abbey so remarkable is the condition of the 11th and 12th century murals contained within it. Some of the building was restored in the 19th century, and this wondrous piece of history has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
BASE D’ACTIVITES VILLE NATURE
Cycling is a very popular pastime all over the world, and arguably its spiritual home is in France. Base D’Activites Ville Nature organises cycling and hiking tours as well as hiring out equipment for doing activities. Organised tours include a guide to provide information about where you’re going and what you are seeing.
CAVES OF NORÉE – BIARD
Just outside of Poiters lies the Boivre Valley, home to the NORÉE caves. They date back to the Jurassic period, and contain colourful and interesting rock formations and stalactites. Local artists have illuminated the caves to make them more dramatic, and guided tours of the cave are available. Currently there is an exhibition of the caves which explains their history and a history of the bats who have made the caves their home.
Author Bio: There is a range Poitou-Charentes holiday and vacation rentals available that can be booked directly with the owner, and can be booked using a variety of websites. The Holiday Ferret is a holiday and vacation rental website, which showcases self – catering holiday and vacation rentals direct from the owner.
Video: Destination Poitou-Charentes
This video highlights some of the main attractions of the region to help you focus on the differences between Poitou-Charentes or Aquitaine?
Lets now contrast the region of Aquitaine with Poitou-Charentes
Facts about Aquitaine: Aquitaine is located in southwest France and enjoys mile upon mile of uncrowded golden beaches. It is interesting to note that this region spans a quarter of the country’s Atlantic coastline. The region is bounded to the south by Spain, to the east by the Midi-Pyrenees, to the north by Poitou-Charentes and the Limousin and to the west by the Atlantic ocean.
The Aquitaine’s diversity of landscape makes it an ideal place to both live and enjoy a vacation. Imagine the luminescence of the coastline where mussels and oysters are still cultivated as they have been for generations. Surfers and sun seekers enjoy the beaches and major surfing championships. Inland villages on the salt marshes maintain a life and culture unspoilt by time. In the Pyrenees hikers seek hidden mountain trails and skiers the thrill of the slopes.
Bordeaux as the capital and main city of Aquitaine has much to offer from the visitors point of view. Take a balloon ride over wine producing vines. Marvel at its splendid architecture, visit palatial mansions and enjoy shopping and numerous cultural events throughout the year. The area around Bordeaux is renowned for producing some of the worlds finest wines. Many at very reasonable prices. As you can imagine visits to wine estates and wine tasting are very popular and may require prior booking.
Enjoy skiing and hiking in the unspoilt Pyrenean Mountains, untroubled by crowds of visitors.
Frolic on unspoilt beaches and go deep sea fishing.
Take time to improve your golf handicap on courses that welcome both the experienced and inexperienced player.
Aquitaine is a region to enjoy all the seasons. Spring begins to blossom from March onwards when the weather tends to be warm but changeable with temperatures of 13°C. Summer bursts forth in May with temperatures ranging from 19°C to 23°C in June. During the main holiday months of July and August the temperatures can rise to 35°C. Autumn is beautiful with the climate gradually creeping down to 10°C in the winter months. A perfect opportunity to throw another log on the fire and enjoy the local wines. Over 2,200 hours have been documented in this region with rainfall being well distributed over all areas.
Getting to the Aquitaine
Until recently it has been relatively difficult to fly to the Aquitaine region but with the introduction of low cost airlines this has now changed with the journey taking just 2 hours flying time. There are now seven airports serving the region and it is also possible to fly into Spain.
Some travellers prefer to take the ferry and car option. After taking a ferry to the north coast port of St Malo there is a 6-7 hour drive to Bordeaux or 8-9 hours to Biarritz – which is no further than driving to Provence or the Cote d’Azur. Why not break your journey and stop at a charming family run hotel or perhaps a luxurious Chateau for the night?
Another option is to take a ferry to Santander or Bilbao in Spain. Then there is a much shorter drive (1.5 hrs Bilbao-Biarritz) along the coast road and up into the Aquitaine region. Because the crossing is much longer, the ferries covering this route are bigger and have more facilities for adults and children alike. Some ferries even boast an onboard swimming pool. The trip is also an ideal opportunity for spotting dolphins, pilot, minke and sperm whales.
It is also possible to travel to Aquitaine by train with your own car. Catch the Eurotunnel connection at Folkestone or Ashford terminals. Once in Calais transfer to Rail Europe’s local services.
Bordeaux – is the capital and main city of the Aquitaine. Take time to visit palatial mansions, contemplate in a beautiful church, or just enjoy the shopping and numerous cultural events this vibrant city has to offer.
Pau – is a lively university town famous as the birth place of King Henry 1V. Take time to Visit the Chateau de Pau which houses the Gobelin 16th-century Tapestries woven by Flemish weavers.
Bayonne – from its inception in Roman times Bayonne first enjoyed prosperity as the gate keeper of one of the main roads to Spain as well as being a prosperous port. With its beautiful cathedral and pedestrian shopping centre Bayonne has attractions for all visitors.
Biarritz – first gained favour as a whaling port but was transformed into a a resort for the rich and famous in the 19th century. It has three excellent beaches and claims to have the best surfing conditions in Europe.
Perigueux – is a lively medieval market town. Dominated by its Cathedral St. Front, it has many interesting archaeological sites for exploration.
Aquitaine Property Prices There are many property hotspots in the Aquitaine. In particular Bordeaux, Archachon, Biarritz / Bayonne and the Dordogne Valley have seen an explosion in prices. The Dordogne Valley maybe cooling but prices on the coast are still buoyant.
Apartments: 150,000 + euros (Coast)
Farmhouses: 175,000 euros (needs renovation)
Townhouses: 120,000 euros
Villas: 210,000 euros
Land: from 20 euros per sq. m