Marais Poitevin

Natural reserve of happiness !

Imagine that in the past long ago, the sea reached here…Behind its furrows, it left this marshy area that was to become the second largest wetland in France, after the Camargue. Use its waterways to enter its lush greenery to penetrate the secret soul of the marsh. The photos that you take home will look like Impressionist paintings!


Parc Naturel Régional du Marais Poitevin

The Marais Poitevin Park is labelled Regional Nature Park, label awarded because of its remarkable natural heritage.

It is also the seventh major natural site in France.


Shaped both by men and the centuries, the Marais Poitevin is a peaceful place evoking calm and contemplation. It now offers two faces marked by a varied mosaic of colours and landscapes : the dried marsh and the wet marsh.

Marais Poitevin

The dried marsh

The dried marsh

We call it the dry marsh event though it is very green. It extends from the Aiguillon Bay to Marans in the departments of Charente-Maritime and Vendée; its landscape is criss-crossed with straight canals separating immense prairies.

This part of the marsh, near the sea, was once dotted with numerous limestone islands. Some of these islands were used for creating hamlets and villages such as Marans. In the 13th century, men undertook a major drainage work in order to promote agriculture. The water is still very present to enable the irrigation of crops, controlled by dams, flood gates and locks such as the Brault lock. These hydrological systems also protect the dried marshes from flood emanating from the wet marsh, extremely flood-prone area.


The wet marsh

The wet marsh

The wet marsh, like a magical Green Venice, is streaked by rows of tree lined canals. Flooded much of the year, the wet marsh was created in the nineteenth century. The maraîchins (marsh dwellers) dug hundreds of kilometres of ditches.

The water network thus created was used as a communication channel. 
Nevertheless, the wet marsh remains prone to floods. To avoid the collapse of the banks, they are planted with trees: the roots prevent erosion and fix the soil.
Gradually, the wild marshes gave way to a wooded marsh where orchards, meadows, market gardens… are lined with trees.

Here in the heart of wet marsh, water spotted with green lentils carries the boats of travellers…

Check online the tourist map of the Poitevin marshes or request delivery by postal services


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