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Politeness reigns in Poitiers! The pavements in the old town centre are so narrow that one can always have the other go first. The Middle Ages are still alive
in this city on the banks of the Clain and the Boivre. It was Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204), one of the most powerful women of her time, who brought art and culture to Poitiers. The marriages
she brokered put parts of France under British rule.
"Poitiers does not have a university, Poitiers is a university", you might also say of Marburg's French twin city. Some 30 000 students are enrolled, at the university, which was founded in 1432. They liven up the nightlife and the cultural scene. You'd think they would be the origin of the "quart d'heure poitevin" - the "Poitevin quarter-hour", which citizens use as an excuse for being fifteen minutes late. In fact, though, the saying merely refers to a feature of the city.
Paris has Notre-Dame-de-Paris, Poitiers has Notre-Dame-la-Grande. Both churches were built in the Middle Ages, but during different periods.
In the Palace of Justice, which in the Middle Ages served as the seat of power of the influential noble House of Aquitaine, we can still imagine hearing courtly love songs in front of the large fireplace, and in the ruins of the Roman amphitheatre the ancient slogan "bread and circuses" comes back to life. In the nearby Futuroscope theme park, however, the modern era is clearly asserting itself. It offers modern media entertainment, such as 3-D cinema, in a futuristic ambience. The 21st century awaits visitors to the Theatre Auditorium of Poitiers (TAP). With 1050 seats and extraordinary acoustics, this is where the city on the Clain and the Boivre presents internationally renowned artists from all walks of art.
It is only an hour by train from Poitiers to Paris. For people in the south of France, Marburg's French twin city is the gateway to the north, to those in the North, it is a gateway to the south. In Poitiers, which is both the prefecture and capital of the Département of Vienne, the university is an important economic factor. But companies like Schlumberger and other high-tech enterprises are also based in Poitiers.