Celebrate your wedding in the historic region of Poitou-Charente. In this lovely south-west region of France you’ll find remarkable ancient architecture, stunning cathedrals, beautiful coastal towns and miles of marshlands and nature reserves.
Get married in Poitou-Charente and you’ll be surrounded by vestiges of famous French kings, queens, dukes and counts. The first Gallic tribes in this region were conquered by the Romans in 56 BC. Throughout the centuries this area of France was fought over by the Romans, Franks and Muslims. From the 10th to the 12th century the counts of Poitou and the dukes of Aquitaine helped to strengthen the importance of the city of Poitiers until 1152 when Eleanor of Aquitaine married Henry II and the region came under English control. Poitou-Charente finally became reunited with the French crown in 1416.
For your wedding ceremony in Poitou-Charente several cities in this region offer romantic settings and beautiful churches. The capital city, Poitiers, dates back to prehistoric times. The city’s rich history can be seen in the Roman baths and amphitheatres, the Baptistery of Saint Jean (4th to 12th century) and the palace of the counts of Poitou. There are two remarkable churches for getting married : Notre Dame la Grande with its 12 century sculpture and colourful stained glass or the Cathedral of Saint Pierre, built between the 12th and 14th centuries. Today Poitiers is a lively small city with cafes, restaurants, elegant streets and half-timbered medieval houses.
Or you may wish to hold your wedding in Angoulême. Situated on the Charente River, Angoulême has been a center for the wine trade for centuries. It was conquered by Clovis, king of the Franks, in the year 507 and was later the seat of the counts of Angoulême in the 9th century. During the Wars of Religion of the 16th century the city was fiercely fought over. Angoulême has many Romanesque buildings including the Cathedral of Saint Pierre, built in 1105, an ideal setting for a wedding in Poitou-Charente.
Another popular city for wedding destinations in France's Poitou-Charentes is La Rochelle located along the Atlantic coast. This delightfully charming seaside town has preserved its historic center and waterfront. It has been a busy port since the 11th century and today the old section of the city contains the 16th century town hall the the 14th century towers that guard the entrance to the harbor. La Rochelle handled most of France’s trade with Canada in the 18th century and many early French settlers in Canada departed from La Rochelle including the founders of Montreal in the 17th century. If you choose La Rochelle as your wedding destination you’ll have the pleasure of strolling along the ‘Vieux Port’ and the ‘Quai Duperré’ with its chic boutiques and outdoor dining terraces. There is a vibrant, young, atmosphere here, especially in the summer time.
The lovely city of Saintes, also situated on the Charente River, was an important economic and cultural center in Roman times. Roman remains include a vast amphitheatre built for gladiator combats. Weddings can be held in one of the two stunning pilgrim churches or in the Cathedral in Saintes. After getting married in Saintes you’ll have the pleasure of strolling along the narrow streets with their medieval houses and take in the wonderful sights and scents of the colourful outside market next to the Cathedral. You can also enjoy a superb Cognac tour in a 15th century chateau or play golf on a stunning 18 hole course.
Just off the coast in Poitou-Charente are 2 pristine islands in the Atlantic ocean that make for perfect day trips after your wedding. Ile de Ré offers long stretches of sandy beaches, white cliffs and rich birdlife. Ile d’Oloron is France’s second larges island after Corsica and prides itself on vast pine forests, nature reserves and miles of sandy beaches.
If Poitou-Charente is your wedding destination you’ll get the chance to enjoy some delicious local specialties including the excellent seafood along the Atlantic coast. Dishes include mussels in a white wine and cream sauces, fish soup and the famous French ‘escargots’. And don’t miss the region’s excellent brandy, Cognac.
Getting married in the region of Poitou-Charente is a truly unforgettable experience combining rich history, beautiful landscapes and vibrant cities. Castles, cathedrals and abbeys abound in the lush, green countryside. Miles an miles of unspoiled seaside offer all the tranquillity and romance you could look for in a wedding destination.