Poitiers is a town on the Clain River in west central France. It is a commune and the capital (prefecture) of the Vienne department and of the Poitou-Charentes region. The town is picturesque; and its streets are interesting for their remains of ancient architecture, especially of the Romanesque period, and the memories of great historical events.
Poitiers is strategically situated on the Seuil du Poitou, a shallow zone joining the Armorican to the Central Massif and connecting the Aquitaine Basin to the Paris Basin. The site of Poitiers is a vast promontory between the valleys of Boivre and Clain. The old town occupies the slopes and summit of a plateau which rises 130 feet (40 m) above the level of the streams by which it is surrounded on three sides.
People in Poitiers are called Poitevins (masculine) and Poiteviennes (feminine) and 1 of every 3 people in Poitiers is under the age of 30 and 1 of every 4 people in Poitiers is a student.
Palace of Poitiers
The Palace of Justice in Poitiers (French: Palais de justice de Poitiers) began its life as the seat of the Counts of Poitou and Dukes of Aquitaine in the tenth through twelfth centuries.
The former Merovingian kingdom of Aquitaine was re-established by Charlemagne for his son Louis the Pious; in the ninth century, a palace was constructed or reconstructed for him, one among many, above a Roman wall datable to the late third century, at the highest spot of the town. Louis stayed there many times as a king and then returned to the palace after becoming emperor, in 839 and 840. The palatium was specifically called a palace in the reign of Charles the Bald.After the disintegration of the Carolingian realm, the palace became the seat of the Counts of Poitiers. The first palace of Poitiers was completely destroyed by a fire in 1018.
The palace was completely rebuilt, straddling the wall, by the Count-Dukes of Aquitaine, then at the pinnacle of their power. In 1104, Count William IX added a donjon on the town side. It is known as the tour Maubergeon, after his mistress Amauberge (the Dangerous), wife of Vicomte Aimery de Chatellerault and grandmother of Eleanor of Aquitaine. The rectangular keep is reinforced with four smaller square towers projecting from each corner; it was greatly damaged when the southern portion of the palace was set ablaze by Henry of Grosmont in 1346.
Between 1191 and 1204, Alienor fitted up a dining hall, the Salle des Pas Perdus, the hall of lost footsteps, where a footfall was silenced by the vastness of its space 50 metres in length, 17 metres in width, perhaps the largest in contemporary Europe. The hall has not retained its original beamed ceiling; it has been covered by chestnut woodwork, constructed in 1862 by a team of marine carpenters from La Rochelle. The walls of the hall are daubed and painted so as to imitate stone facing. Their monotony is relieved by cusped arches resting on slender columns. A stone bench rings the walls of the hall.