Straddling Deux-Sèvres, Charente-Maritime and Vendée, the Poitevin Marsh, which covers 111,200 hectares, is France's second largest wetland area after the Camargue. The area is full of diverse natural habitats and exceptional biodiversity, and is a stopping place for many migrant birds…
The landscape mosaic of the Poitevin Marsh Regional Natural Park is unique, with the coastal area alternating between sandy beaches, dunes and forests, but also cliffs and mudflats on the Bay of Aiguillon side; the wet marsh and its famous Green Venice, a listed Great Site of France, where countless conches (narrow canals) and wider tree-lined canals can be seen; the dried marsh, with vast expanses of crops and meadows; and the edges of the marsh, with plains covered in cultivated fields.
A favourite destination for nature-lovers, the Poitevin Marsh is home to incredible wildlife ranging from the European otter to the European tree frog through the purple heron and the greater horseshoe bat. No fewer than 250 species of birds, 38 species of fish, 60 species of dragonflies and 80 species of butterflies are listed there!
To discover the charms of the wet marsh, a destination in the Poitevin Marsh that's highly prized by lovers of romantic getaways, nothing beats a boat trip in the heart of the mysterious Green Venice, on peaceful canals interwoven with greenery: you are guaranteed a change of scene, where trees and other plants form a kind of vault between water and sky! Many visitors to the Park choose to explore it on foot or by bicycle, to take the time to savour the beauty of the wild, unspoilt countryside at their own pace.
The Poitevin Marsh Park also boasts a rich water industry heritage, and invites you to discover its harbours, locks, hydraulic works, footbridges, fountains and washhouses. For more urban sightseeing, you have the choice between its charming, characterful little towns, such as Arçais, Coulon or Nieul-sur-l'Autise, and gateway cities like Fontenay-le-Comte, Niort, Luçon and Marans. Religious architecture enthusiasts, meanwhile, won't want to miss a chance to visit Maillezais Abbey and see its remarkable relics, a listed Historic Monument.
During your stay in the Poitevin Marsh, you should also make the most of the local gastronomy. Authentic and flavoursome, it gives pride of place to the products of fishing and shellfish farming, not to mention specialities such as farci poitevin, a delicious terrine of green vegetables, frogs' legs, snails, coypu and ham with mogette beans!