Parc Interrégional du Marais Poitevin

FRANCE POITOU-CHARENTE VIENNE le canotier vendee

The Parc interrégional du Marais Poitevin  (Poitevin Marsh) [+44 549351520 www.niortmaraispoitevin.com] is the second largest wetland area in France after Camarge, and hence it is heavily protected. It lies downstream around the plains of the Sèvre Niortaise River, west and south of Niort.  Being well-endowed with numerous waterways and home to aquatic plants, the park is also affectionately referred to as Venise Verte (Green Venice). Covering over 100,000 hectares, Marais Poitevin straddles 3 departments and hence, is accessible from Niort, Vendee as well as the Sarre Valley area. France once had a significant portion of wetland; however, most of these marsh areas have been destroyed over the years through development, leaving Marais Poitevin one of the few remaining marshlands- about 800km². This area is home to a fragile yet rich ecosystem that sheathes 50 species of aquatic mammals and over 200 species of birds and insects.



FRANCE POITOU-CHARENTE DEUX-SURES Marais PoitevinThe Marais Poitevin comprises of dried marshes, coastal areas as well as limestone islets. The entire area, interspersed with little villages and woodlands, can be explored via boat or bike. These villages are historically interesting and worth exploring- find information at the tourism website at www.niortmaraispoitevin.com/decouvrir/les-29-communes-de-notre-territoir... or see points of interest in brackets after each village shown below the map. Apart from the park's ecotouist value, you can find prehistoric megalithic passage graves dating back some 6,000 years, medieval churches and cosy communities.  (Don't touch the
Amuré megaliths as you might get pregnant, as legend goes!)  The park has about 800km of marked routes for bikers that have been developed over the past ten years, amounting to 6 different biking circuits.

 

 

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MARAIS POITEVIN:   (purple marker) Marais Poitevin tourism office in Niort.  
Villages within park
 
(green markers): Amuré ((megaliths near the modern cemetery up to 6,000 years old; 12th century L’église d’Amuré), Arçais ('Gateway to Marais Poitevin'), Bessines(L’église Saint-Caprais), Coulon (The 'Capital of Venice Green', La Maison du Marais Poitevin Information Centre),  Epannes (18th century Le château des de Cugnac & 15th century L’église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine), Frontenay-Rohan-Rohan  (fortified 12th century Roman-Gothic  L’église Saint-Pierre), La Rochénard (12th century L’église Saint-Laurent), Le Bourdet (L’église Saint-Jacques built in 1788; a 1.8 km eco-trail showcasing the marshland), Le Vanneau-Irleau (L’église Saint-Eutrope, Historic commercial port of Vanneau),  Magné (10th century L’église Sainte-Catherine), Mauzé-sur-le-Mignon (home of the explorer Rene Caillie), Priaire (11th century L’église Notre-Dame), Prin-Deyrançon (17th century L’église isolée Notre-Dame de Dey), Saint-Georges-de-Rex (18th century L’église Saint-Georges), Saint-Hilaire-la-Palud ('Capital of the Wild Marais', ornothological trail), Sansais-La Garette (prehistoric sites & 18th century L’église Saint-Vincent), Usseau (10th century L’église Saint-Pierre, 14th century fortified château d'Olbreuse) & Vallans ("100% Nature", 12th century L’église Notre-Dame)