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Niort, in the Aquitaine region of France, is a medieval town that once served as a garrison for Henry II after his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine. Now the headquarters of major insurance firms, it is considered one of the most bourgeois towns in France. With good shopping and dining and a medieval town centre, it has many attractions for travellers to this region. Top see all of these fascinating sights in style book cheap car hire here today.
The streets surrounding rue Victor-Hugo and rue St-Jean exhibit stone-fronted and half-timbered houses from medieval times. This mostly pedestrianised area is a good place for a relaxing stroll whilst enjoying the old town's hall, triangular building, dated as far back as the 16th century. The hall has a belfry, lantern and protruding machicolations, originally used for pouring boiling oil on intruders.
The Sévre Niortaise river that runs through the town is lined with trees and gardens and over the bridge lies the ruins of a glove factory that once kept 30 cavalry regiments supplied with breeches.
Niort is particularly known for its Château de Niort begun by Henry II and finished by Richard the Lionhearted. Today its donjon de Niort (keep) consists of two towers connected by a 15th century building. The castle contains museums with an important collection of costumes, archaeological finds from the Bronze and Gallo-Roman ages and a museum of chamois leather and glove making.
There are many restaurants that cater to the affluent locals and shopping is lively in the pedestrianised streets of the town. The market hall has a good café that is popular with budget travellers, and Niort is the last place to find provisions before reaching the marshlands of the coast. Niort has a range of mid-level hotels as well as some larger chain hotels. Holiday homes are plentiful in the region.
If you want to see the surrounding marshland, the countryside is flat and easy to tour by bicycle. To cover a wider range, a hire car is the most convenient way to get around. Local car rental firms tend to be expensive, making it wiser to book car hire online in advance. We compare prices from over fifty leading suppiers to ensure we find you the cheapest available deal.
La Rochelle (pictured above) is located less than an hours drive to the west of Niort, along the west coast of France. La Rochelle's Airport, also referred to as Laleu Airport, is where the majority of tourists arrive to get to Niort. Car hire can also be booked here. Suppliers operating from the airport are Ada (localley based), Avis, National, Europcar and Hertz.
Niort has a railway station linked with Paris (2.15 hours north) and La Rochelle, which is a fast and fairly cheap way to travel if car hire isn't for you.