Rich in history, the Vienne is home to the region's futuristic theme park, Futuroscope, so is popular with tourists holidaying in the area as well as those passing through on their way south. But there is much more to explore in the departement...
Poitiers, the capital of Vienne, is a lively hill-top town with winding cobbled streets bordered by chic boutiques and pavement cafés. Here Eleanor of Aquitaine lived and held court, and the Battle of Poitiers is considered one of the key conflicts in the struggles between the French and English thrones for this area of France. Today, Poitiers has plenty to see and do and its strong student population (the university is one of the oldest in France) gives the city a youthful vibe. Recent renovations have made the city centre pedestrian-friendly as well as unearthing much of Poitier's gallo-roman past.
Nearby, explore Chauvigny old town before enjoying a visit to Geants du Ciel to watch the birds of prey soaring high above the five medieval castles. Further east, Angles-sur-l'Anglin has been awarded the prestigious 'Les plus beaux villages de France' label (the most beautiful villages in France), while the spa town of La Roche-Posay welcomes visitors from around the world to its therapeutic waters. Marvel at the ancient abbey at Saint Savin which was awarded UNESCO world heritage status for its frescos nicknamed the 'Romanesque Sistene Chapel'.
The high-tech media park Futuroscope is an experience which will thrill all the family with its imposing IMAX theatres alongside adrenalin-filled rides. Allow at least one day, preferably two, to make the most of all it has to offer including a night show of lights, music and fireworks. Vallée des Singes monkey park in Romagne only half an hour from Poitiers is another family favourite. Here you can get close to the monkeys as they roam freely in natural habitats on a series interlinked islands.
Meandering through the department are both the Charente and Vienne rivers, offering plenty of opportunities for water sports enthusiasts who will also love the lake at Moncoutant.