6 surprising anecdotes about Poitiers and its region

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Place de la Liberté in Poitiers ©ACAP - Rafca MKHAIBER

Poitiers is best known for its historical patrimony and Futuroscope Park. In this article, we give you 6 unusual anecdotes that you did not know (perhaps not) about Poitiers! Between secrets, stories and discoveries, a new vision of our city opens up to you!

1. The Manneken Pis in Poitiers: an air of Belgium

Did you know that one of the 6 original copies of the Manneken Pis is in Poitiers? During the Second World War, the Belgian services seek refuge in France, following the German offensive in Belgium. On May 23, 1940, they chose Poitiers as their place of asylum. For 26 days, Poitiers becomes the capital of Belgium ! On June 17, 1940, France requested the Armistice, forcing the Belgian government to leave the next day.

Ten years later, the Belgian police wanted to thank the city of Poitiers for its welcome by offering an official replica of the Brussels Manneken Pis to the French police. The statue is today visible in the lobby of the Poitiers police station.

2. "Long live freedom", in Poitiers

As you stroll near the Liberty Square in Poitiers, you will not be able to miss this replica of the famous New York statue. However, it has nothing to do with it. This sculpture was inaugurated on July 14, 1903 in honor of General Berton, French general of the First Empire. In 1822, it was there that the latter, accused of conspiracy, was executed. Before his death, he shouted “Long live freedom!” Long live France ! ".

To pay homage to him, the Freemasons financed a replica of Bartholdi's Statue of Liberty: they installed it in the center of the square, which then took the name "Liberty Square".

Place de la Liberté in Poitiers©ACAP – Rafca MKHAIBER

3. Filming on Joan of Arc in the Palace of the Counts and Dukes of Aquitaine

The Hall of Lost Steps, in the Palace of the Dukes of Aquitaine and Counts of Poitou, served as filming location for the film Joan of Arc, directed by Luc Besson in 1998. Beyond the architectural aspect, the director chose this place for its historical past. In 1429, Joan of Arc was interrogated in this same room, by the ecclesiastical authorities, in order to carry out an examination of conscience, at the request of the king. This element of the story brings credence to the cinematographic work.

Other places in the city mark the passage of Joan of Arc to Poitiers. Cathedral Street, near to St. Peter's Cathedral, you can observe a commemorative plaque, affixed to the former hotel de la Rose, where she stayed during her visit. In the square near the Palace of the Dukes of Poitiers, a statue of him is visible.

4. Grand'Goule, the beast of Poitiers

Grand'Goule is the name of a monstrous dragon that would have lived in the time of Sainte Radegonde, in VIrd century. Legend has it that she lived at the bottom of the Clain, the river adjoining Sainte-Croix abbey, founded by Sainte-Radegonde. When the waters rose, the beast entered the cellars of the abbey, devouring the nuns present on its way. Wishing to stop the dragon, Sainte-Radegonde armed herself with a cross and holy water.
Faced with the beast, she sprinkles it while reciting a destructive prayer and succeeds in killing it. She then became the patron saint of Poitiers and the Grand'Goule, one of the emblems of the city.

The Grand Goule©Tom LAMBERT – Agence Zébrelle

5. La Bicyclette Bleue, a world famous saga in Montmorillon

The writer Régine DEFORGES is from Montmorillon, In the Vienne. She was made famous around the world through the writing of the saga “The blue bicycle”, part of the story of which takes place in Montmorillon. She began writing the first book in 1983. The 10rd and last volume was published in 2007. In her hometown, she contributed to the creation of the book fair, as well as the City of Books and Written Professions, to promote encounters between authors and the inhabitants of rural areas. This is today the fame of Montmorillon.

6. The shooting of 3rd opus of "What have we done to the good Lord? » in the theater of Blossac

Philippe de Chauveron, director of the film “ What have we done to the good Lord? », chose the Blossac theater to Chatellerault to shoot a scene from 3rd opus of this hit comedy. In the script, the Verneuils' African-born son-in-law, Charles, is hired to play Jesus in a play.
Chatellerault was thus chosen for its Italian theatre.

Popular theater in Chatellerault©Thomas JELINEK – Agence Zebrelle

So what are you waiting for Visit Poitiers, a green and cultural city, a few steps from the Futuroscope park !