Marais Poitevin Information
Also known as ‘Poitevin Marsh’, it is a large area of marshland located in the Poitou Charentes region of western France. This remnant of the former Gulf of Poitou stretches about 100,000 hectares into three departments: Vendée, Deux-Sèvres and Charente-Maritime. The Marais Poitevin can be divided in two: the ‘dry marsh’ covers two thirds of the area and is mainly used for farming and breeding, while the ‘wet marsh’ has more a tourist purpose and is nicknamed ‘The Green Venice’. Situated north of La Rochelle, it is the second biggest marshland in France after Camargue.
Marais Poitevin Characteristics
The myriad of canals are covered in green duckweed, making this wonderful setting even more picturesque. It is the most important French cultivation area for angelica and boasts a magnificent flora, notably reeds, and a multitude of water-lily like plants. The drained marshland is also home to a rich fauna: stork, coypu, swan, otter, heron, tree frog. The Green Venice is a real maze of islets criss-crossed with scenic canals and shaded by poplars and beech trees. Peace haven, this very green area is the perfect destination to be in tune with a preserved nature.
These waters also make a wide range of leisure activities possible, such as canoeing, kayaking or fishing. The latter is a much appreciated local sport, offering a variety of species; eel, pike and perch especially. There are several piers from which traditional barques can be hired. Punting within the enchanting green surroundings or horse riding along the marsh banks are great means to discover the beautiful Poitou Charentes region.
Places of Interest
- Maison du Marais Poitevin: Located in Coulons, this museum dedicated to the Poitevin Marsh lets you discover this amazing green area. It allows you to learn about inland water shipping, the locals' life in the 19th century as well as regional traditions. For a thorougher knowledge of the area, local produce are sold in the small shop. Edutainment activities are also on offer.
- La Rochelle: This sought-after port town is renowned for its festivals (international film festival, Francofolies...) but also boasts a rich architectural heritage, notably the Maison Henri II and several World Heritage monuments. Noteworthy houses are mostly found in the medieval town in middle of outstanding archway streets. The aquarium is also really worth a visit. La Rochelle is definitely a charming town not to pass by.
- Baie de l'Aiguillon nature reserve: Transition between ocean and inland, this preserved area boasts a unique nature: coastal marsh, dunes and pebble rows are wonderful landscapes to enjoy. It is also one of the most important sites in France for migratory birds. This green haven will surely delight all nature lovers.
- Futuroscope: this giant theme park uses the latest audio-visual technologies to offer various exhibits and shows. Interactive attractions plunge the visitor in a futuristic world and represent perfect educational days out for adults and children alike.