Tag Archives: Poitiers

One last look at Poitiers

As promised, I will take one last look at Poitiers. I have gathered up some previously unblogged photos that are somehow important and representative of my time abroad.


The city’s largest and most beautiful park was pretty much across the street from where I lived. I could easily just drop what I’m doing and leave any hour of the day to go relax in the park.


A large fountain adds energy to the city’s main park, although this fountain was broken for part of the time. It was working near the end again when the park was well in season.


Narrow streets and crowded sidewalks are common. It’s also not unusual to have a street where pedestrians and cars share the same area, requiring that you are careful when a car is coming. In this photo, you see a large city bus coming through just below the Notre-Dame church, which is one of Poitier’s most recognizable and promoted buildings.


Although this looks like the remains of some really fancy castle, I think it’s perhaps just a fancy wall created for the park above. I’m sure this shot would look very much the same in 100 years as it did 100 years ago. Much of Poitiers has this timeless appearance.

And now my last Poitiers blog photo…


This photo brings me back the most vivid memories of my first impression of Poitiers. The weather wasn’t too good yet, and the Christmas decorations were still up everywhere. All of central Poitiers pretty much looks like this, and it seemed so different and hard to navigate at first. This was also the time when the whole 5 months was still ahead of me, yet to come, and everything new to experience.

I have enjoyed keeping you informed and sharing my favourite images. I will likely keep blogging about everything how it is back in North America.

That’s all for Europe, 2007.

Goodbye Poitiers

On Tuesday the 29th, I checked out of my flat with Mr. Gervis and then he drove me to the train station. From there, I went to Paris where I am staying for a few days before returning to Canada on Friday.


Me and Mr. Gervis standing outside my flat entrance.

2 of my other 4 housemates have already checked out. It’s hard to believe that I’ve lived in Poitiers for 4.5 months, and now I have left. I wish I had more time to take one last walk through town or actually say goodbye to more people. Such is life.

I am way behind on my blogging. I haven’t had time yet to go through my photos from Versailles, Dublin, Salzburg, and Germany. I likely won’t be able to do much of this before I return to Canada, so wish me safe travels!

Picnic in St. Benoit

On Sunday, we set out to go canoing again at the same place that we went to before in St. Benoit (about an hour’s walk away). The canoe place turned out to be closed, so we had a picnic instead since it was a nice spot.


Beautiful along the river, eh?

After getting there, we ate our sandwiches that we bought from a Patisserie down the street from my house. After they were gone, Ben, Leanne, Brian and I got bored. So we walked around the area a bit. We saw this bridge and a path leading up it. There was some signs along the pathway that said “Danger”, but the rest was in French, so we assumed they only apply to French citizens. We proceed upwards along an old staircase in the woods with burned out candles along the way.

We reached the top just before the entrance to the bridge, which must have been for the railroad or something at some point. There were more of the signs blocking the way to the bridge. How annoying.


The fence beside the signs was just the right height for climbing, as demonstrated here.


We reached the other side safely. Danger must mean something different in French. The sign says “Danger – For safety reasons, viaduct access is prohibited to everyone”. Since there was two of these signs with two fences, I assumed it was just a joke.


We crossed the Danger bridge safely. It was still in good shape for the most part, and we stuck to walking along the rivets and holding onto the railings. Suddenly, in the centre of the bridge, we heard a train coming. We all kinda freaked out a bit, until we noticed there was no longer any train tracks on the bridge, and you know, two fences blocking the way.

We got out of the restricted area safely. Just before we came out, we encountered a local person approaching the bridge to cross it with a fishing rod, doing the same thing as we did. There was also houses under parts of the bridges (yes, there was actually two “dangerous” bridges closed off), so they must been in good enough condition to keep standing. We returned to the picnic area by the river.


Lazing by the river playing cards and catching sun.

After a few hours, we walked the long way back to Poitiers, returning to my house for spaghetti dinner. Check out my gallery for more photos, including various photos taken by Brian, Katy and others playing with the zoom on my camera.

Canoeing and BBQ

Almost a week ago now, I learned that one of my fellow graduates, David Greenslade, had been killed in Afghanistan. I had only talked to him a few times in high school, only ever sharing one or two classes, but it was generally well known that he was well-liked. It is a very sad story indeed.

On Thursday, I finally got my bike from the city, and took my first bike in Europe for a few minutes on the way to school. The rental cost is very cheap at only 6 Euro per month, and it includes everything you’d need including lights, locks, and a helmet (if you want it). I’m almost tempted to take the bike back to Canada with me, since the deposit is only 100 Euro (which I haven’t even paid yet, they’re pretty easy going).


On Friday, Eric was having a lot of fun with our washing machine. Since you can’t stop the machine once it starts, he had to rush when putting the soap in. He put waaaay too much in.


On Saturday, me and 9 others walked a long way to a canoe rental place. As you may have guessed, we rented canoes there and went for 2 hours on the river here in Poitiers. I was steering my canoe, and I wasn’t the best at it. Needless to say, my canoe found every tree, posts, log, and even fishing line that was in the river. The fisherman who’s line we went over was not too happy. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of my own because I was afraid of dropping my camera into the river, but here are some that others took.


We had to walk a ways through the woods before getting there. We walked on a dirt road which was named “Dirt Road” and even labelled as such on the map. Here, we’re standing before a bridge.


Geting into our canoes. The ride was not as leisurely and relaxing as it should have been. One canoe even had a hole in it that would let water in (but not enough to sink it).

After the canoe ride, we came back to my flat where we had a barbecue with hamburgers and sausages. Our flat was a mess this morning with ashes from the fire everywhere, garbages, and dishes galore.

End of a busy week

This was the busiest week in a while. We did our presentation for Sustainable Development. Our project was to create a mutual fund company, and the professor was quite impressed with our presentation. I didn’t present myself. The professor chose two French students in our group to present. You can imagine how difficult it must be for them to present, with the added struggle of English as a second language.

On Friday, I wrote my exams for Human Resources Management. They were okay, but not amazing since I didn’t do too much studying. (Something about being away on a vacation of sorts, and only having to make a passing grade for university credit.)

I made time a few evenings this week to walk around Poitiers discovering a few new areas simply by following the river.


The goats in the park near my flat are quite happy and active most of the time. I managed to catch a good shot of this one.


It’s a good thing this river does not freeze. Many nice walls can be found edging people’s property along the river, a task that is difficult to accomplish in Canada with the yearly winter ice bringing destruction to even the toughest wall developments.


Some old building thingy in one of the parks along the river. I climbed those narrow stairs and sat on top for a few minutes. Getting down was something I had not considered beforehand, as the steps were quite small and not easy to descend quickly.


Flowers today in the “Park of Plants”. It felt very much like summer, and looks like it easily everywhere. Everything is very green and colourful already here.

I have posted many new pictures in my various gallery categories, but not too many in any one spot. That would be too simple, of course.

I’m taking it easy this weekend. I’m still waiting to rent a bike from the city, which seemingly gets in short supply this time of year.


On Monday the 26th, I visited Futuroscope, which is a technology park situation on the edge of Poitiers, with my Tourism class. The day began with most of my class getting off the city bus confused and not sure where to go. We eventually found our way to the administrative entrance for a presentation organized by our professor from the park officials. They talked about how they run the park, and keep visitors coming.

Basically, the park used to be privately run, but it is now owned and operated by the local government. The architecture of the buildings is very cool and futuristic, although the actual attraction themselves have mixed reviews. I can’t complain too much because we got in free, but most parts of the park were just simulations where you sit and watch something. They were typically realistic with your chairs vibrating to match what you see on screen, as if you’re in the movie. One of the simulators even had a character that sneezes on the audience several times, resulting in blasts of water (I HOPE it was just water) being sprayed on your face.


This is one of the best views within the park, with beautiful water being overlooked by a very unusual building. Our presentation was in that building at the very bottom. The Gyrotower can be seen in the background. I went up to the top of this tower (as one of the park’s few “rides”) where the entire park could be seen. According to the voiceovers, Futuroscope has some of the highest concentration of hotels in Europe with thousands of rooms available. Several technology related companies also make their home on site.


Strange building with a huge ball on top. Also note the building to the right which also has an unusual shape like all the others.


Modern art of some type


The “Dancing with Robots” ride. I went on this and it was quite intense. You’re strapped to the end of a robotic arm which swings you all around. It’s about 2 minutes long, and you’re quite ready to get off at the end!


That’s water running down the windows of this building (except above the door, thankfully!). Perhaps this is a possible solution that building owners in France could use in the event of a widespread window cleaner strike.


These buildings must have been very expensive to create. Inside this one, I believe there was a nature film shown on large screens in front of you as well as below the clear glass floor, adding a bit extra sense of realism perhaps.


An upside-down staircase, perhaps.

Overall, Futuroscope was very interesting. It’s unfair to compare it with Disneyland, simply because it does not try to have any thrill rides, but you can learn a lot, and play a lot with technology here. One attraction, which wasn’t running yet when I saw it, was a robot that can draw your portrait.

In other news, I decided that I did not like my Panasonic Lumix camera too much, so I returned it. It wasn’t bad, but it did lack some features and quality that I missed in my Canon. I bought the minor upgrade to my old camera, the Canon PowerShot S3 IS. It is almost the same as what I had. I plan to use it for the rest of my time in France, and then sell it on eBay before I leave to return to Canada where I can have my other camera repaired. I’m likely only going to live in France once, so I want a camera that I am very comfortable with.

Connection with J. K. Rowling

Today, I have the pleasure of being connected with J. K. Rowling in some small way. A guest lecturer, Patrick Coghlan, from London Metropolitan University is in for the day to teach my Tourism class about various things. One of his former students is Harry Potter creator, J. K. Rowling! He commented on her being a billionaire now, and that he can’t imagine what anyone would do with so much money.

That’s all for now. I’m writing quickly on my lunch hour as I have to return to school now for the second half of Tourism class, and then French class tonight. It’s a long day.