the palace of the Dukes of Aquitaine returned to the inhabitants

Since the end of September, the palace of the Dukes of Aquitaine and the Counts of Poitou has been accessible free of charge from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Desired by the new municipality, this wide opening to the public of this mythical place of the Middle Ages is already seeing the development of new uses.

It is one of the most remarkable groups of medieval civil architecture in France. Within it, improved by Aliénor d’Aquitaine, stands the largest room of this type in Europe. After the feasts of the XIth century, it has long served as a hall of lost steps in the courthouse.
Today its Angevin Gothic style, its stained glass windows and its three imposing fireplaces serve as a setting for the nomadic lunch breaks in the Poitevins. From the first days of opening to the public, Gwenola Cerniaut has become an enthusiastic regular, fallen in love …

This magnificent fireplace, it is a great pleasure to find it. It may be missing two small three colors, lights, on the walls so that we want to look towards the beautiful frame!

Gwenola Cerniaut, accustomed

Upcoming work

The town hall has budgeted to renovate this space and provide it, among other things, with better thought-out lighting. In addition to relaying the usual custodians, a cultural coordinator is mobilized to provide better support. About 200 people per day, up to 300 on weekends, walk around this place.
A fairly diverse audience, with quite different objectives, crosses the colonnades: curious tourists or Poitevins, delighted to once again cross this hall of lost steps, long inaccessible because in the heart of the courthouse, and therefore a sensitive and secure place. This crossing was also existing from the construction of this room and widely used as a shortcut until about forty years ago.

Hall of lost steps - Duc d'Aquitaine Palace Poitiers

Hall of lost steps – Duc d’Aquitaine Palace Poitiers

© Marie-Ange Cristofari – France Televisions

Peak attendance at noon

Other public, very happy to take advantage of the seats and tables made available, gourmets! They come in pairs, or in groups to share their sandwiches. Midday is also the peak in attendance!

It’s nice to have a room like this. In the media library, we cannot talk, not eat, elsewhere it is not public. There, it’s open to everyone!

Zoé Kurdziel-Vincent, High school student

Hall of lost steps - Duc d'Aquitaine Palace Poitiers
Hall of lost steps - Duc d'Aquitaine Palace Poitiers

Hall of lost steps – Duc d’Aquitaine Palace Poitiers

© Marie-Ange Cristofari – France Televisions

The place, sheltered from the rain, timeless, is conducive to flanerie and reflection. Some have also sown some ideas in the guestbook … A coffee machine or pilates lessons?

Being in a place like that is already inspiring for me who teaches, but I know that it is also beneficial for the students. Even if I don’t tell them about the place. Naturally the body adapts to the place, takes root there.

Nathalie Brissonnet, pilates teacher

The electricity fairy …

In addition to the citizens’ proposals to be scrutinized, the first project for elected officials is to bring electricity to this thousand-year-old place. Some students have already gotten into the habit of coming before the media library opens … All that’s missing is the current on the tables.

Very soon, there will be the possibility of connecting, to recharge your cell phone, or your computer. We will go in stages. We want to observe the uses and depending on what we have observed, to orient the uses of the place.

Charles Reverchon-Billot, assistant for public spaces and delegate for cultural rights

A charter to better define possible events (and impossible ones) will be put to a vote in a future municipal council. A first participatory event around dance has already taken place. Soon, free internet access will be made permanent. In the meantime, the classic guided tours continue.

The palace of the Dukes of Aquitaine is now available to Poitou

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