Port Marais Poitevin

5 ways to explore the Marais poitevin

There’s a few good ways to explore the Marais poitevin, a vast territory that lies between Niort and La Rochelle. There’s the traditional boat trip, but there’s also a network of waymarked trails that visitors can use to explore the marsh by bike or on foot.

Crossing the Marais poitevin by bike, along the Sèvre Niortaise

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Hundreds of miles of waymarked cycle paths criss-cross the Marais poitevin. The best known cycle path is the Vélo Francette. It crosses the marsh from Niort to the ocean, following the course of the Sèvre Niortaise, the main waterway in the Marais poitevin.

A canoe adventure along the canals of the Marais poitevin

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Got a good sense of direction? Paddle your canoe or kayak along the Conches, Rigoles, Fossés and other canals in the Marais poitevin. The jetties of the marsh also have canoes for hire, and can loan you a map to help you follow the waymarked routes and avoid getting lost in the labyrinthine canal network.

Take a guided boat tour in the shade of pollarded ash trees

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Enjoy a moment of sweet relaxation in the verdant cathedral of the “Green Venice”. A boatman will tell you all about the Marais poitevin’s ancient history, and introduce you to local flora and fauna. Maybe you’ll even get to see some of the amazing fire on the water...

To get the most from the special atmosphere in the Marais poitevin, and to have a better chance of spotting the local wildlife, opt for the morning or night-time boat trips with a boatman guide.

Walking the white trails to spot some marshland cattle

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Wear some sturdy shoes when you set off from one of the marsh’s villages to walk the white trails and paths of the Marais poitevin. In the shade of the poplars and along the canals and meadows where the marsh cattle grazes, come and savour the sounds of nature as it exists far from human interference.

Geocaching to explore the Marais poitevin as a family

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Have a treasure-hunting adventure in the Marais poitevin. Armed with a GPS or your smartphone, you’ll set off to find the geocaches that have been carefully hidden in the marsh, safe from prying eyes. Under bridges and in the hollows of trees, geocaching is a fun pretext for a family outing in the Marais poitevin.

Leave your mozzie spray at home: there aren’t any mosquitos in the marsh. The active water management policy and the flourishing population of its most voracious predator, dragonfly larvae, both help to keep the Marais poitevin free from mosquitos.

Getting to the Marais poitevin Regional Nature Park 

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