Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Poitiers and Mirebeau

Leaving Confolens was not so difficult. We were excited about our next night time stop at Chinon but more about that next week.

Our first time stop was Poitiers (for coffee of course), capital of the Vienne Department and founded by the Celtic Pictones tribe.
Romans, Visigoths - Clovis I returning Poitiers back to the Franks.
732 AD Battle of Poitiers/Tours - 1356 battle of Poitiers - the home of Eleanor of Aquitaine at times, what a rich history and here are us just wanting a stop for coffee.
With a population of 91,000 I was a little unsure of venturing into the central part of the city but with encouragement from Sue I mustered all my courage and drove on. Unbelievably there was very little traffic and an underground parking lot made life quite pleasant. We climbed the stairs to the open morning sunlight to be hit with the sight of Poitiers' cathedral. We sat drinking our shot of caffeine with the view of this beautiful structure before us. As magnificent the outside facade was, inside was just as enthralling. The mid-morning sunlight sent shafts of light within - there must be a god, or was that the Catholic architects designed such buildings to make us believe so?
Without a doubt, Notre Dame La Grande in my mind holds its ground with the great cathedrals of Paris, Senlis and Chartres despite not being large. The sculptures of the 12 Apostles at the entrance and inside, the columns painted in perfect geometrical colorful panels add a mystique to be absorbed without rush.
Poitiers is a place to return to more leisurely than a coffee stop.

We had this view while sipping on our coffee.

Some description of what we were to experience.

They tell me that at night, lights make the Cathedral come to life. Maybe next time.

The sculptured figures tell a story.

Joan of Arc is my favorite Heroine. There are more J of A images to come in our travels.

Sue admires the geometrical painted columns within.

And those shafts of light - how uplifting.
We left Poitiers wanting to return one day but we had a deadline to meet in Chinon. We were leaving Richard the Lionheart, Eleanor of Aquitaine territory for the region of Joan of Arc's successful conquests.

But after a couple of hours drive we were needing a lunchtime stop. There was a sign directing us from the highway to Mirebeau, not a village on our agenda but the stomach was rumbling. As we turned off the highway and ventured into the village, there was no one in sight. No pedestrians, no cars, no life. We pulled into a car park in front of a bar, wandered in and saw three people there. We asked if lunch was available. The barman was helpful when he discovered we were from Australia, he had been to Brisbane. The owner, a French lady with a grasp of English said there was a Creperie not far away, "follow me, we can walk there" she said.
The best Creperie in the whole world - well in our world.
I personally didn't want to argue with such a strong woman. She took us to this little eatery no more that 200 metres away and it was one of those hidden treasures with the best galettes I've had to this time, despite the fact that we had to step over a sleeping Boxer bitch to enter. We sat in this covered courtyard with flowering creeping vines with the sunshine filtering through as we had our lunch washed down, naturally with a chilled rose. Tell me now - how good is this?
Our trip next year includes a return visit - God please let it still be there!!!!!

Every eatery has a door bitch and this is the one at Mirebeau.

Goodbye Mirebeau till maybe 2012 for lunch once again.


  1. I was impressed with the inside of the cathedral. Very pretty.

  2. So were we Nadege. Not huge but very impressive just the same.

  3. I think Poitiers is a bit of an under rated and undiscovered gem, for such a large town/small city.
    I agree about the cathedral, its awesome!

  4. Craig,
    You've seen a few places in your time judging by yiur regular comments. We may visit Poitiers next year as we travel back to Chinon.

  5. Not nearly as many as you guys! Poitiers was relatively local to us when we lived in Cognac.

  6. I love the stained glass window.
    You must be looking forward to your next visit so much.

  7. Gaynor - we might just go back to Poitiers next year for a longer coffee stop and see a little more.
    Joan of Arc seems to be the feature of many stained glass windows.


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