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Marais Poitevin. Green Venice
With the draining of the ancient gulf of Poitou by the Benedictine monks from the abbey at Maillezais in medieval times the inter-regional park of the Marais Poitevin was developed.
This lazy landscape criss crossed by a system of canals lined by willows and popular trees. The slow flowing rivers of the Sevre Noirtaise and the Vendee meander across these fens with it's essential dyke systems neccesary to control the water levels. The myriad canals are covered with green duck weed which gives it its name of Verice-Vert or Green Venice,dotted along the banks are many pretty little stone cottages.
These marshland support a variety of flora and fauna many rare and unique,these are best viewed either from the flat bottom boats on hire all along the canals or by taking a stroll along the many quite footpaths. There are nature reservers at several places on the Marais Poitevin.
Coulon, a pretty village is on the banks of the Sevre Niortaise river at the eastern end of the Green Venice. It is probably the most touristique part and here you can hire boats and canoes with or without a guide to explore the many canals nearby.
Bicycles are also available for hire including family sized ones.
There are excellent restaurants and cafes both along side the waterways and in the centre of the village.
The anchien church is of great interest.
Arcais, This is a small village of great charm with a village square with church and interesting shops and restaurant, from here you can take one of many small winding lanes with interesting old cottages (or the main road) down to the river and harbour which is overlooked by a small chateau.
Boats are available with or without guilds to explore the small canals and their wild life.
Damvix, Just down stream from Arcais is Damvix, as you approach along the road beside the river Sevre Niotaise you will see the 15th century church of Damvix that dominates the landscape. Crossing the bridge you enter into the village where you can hire boats or bicycles.
There are several good restaurants and cafes here,also the restaurant boat leaves from here for diner cruises during the season.
Maillezais, Best known for its ruined abbey that was once the home of the benedictine monks who were responsible for the draining of the gulf of picton. It is said that in 1460 the waves were lapping at the foot of the abbey (which was then on the coast) when the bells for vespers were ringing, at the end of prayers the tide had gone out never to return and maillezais was then 19k from the sea.
During the holiday season the abbey host a variety of events including night time spectaculars.
Boats can be hired from a couple of locations near to the abbey.
The town of Maillezais has a 12th century church which predates the abbey.
There are numerous restaurants and cafes in the pretty little town.
Photo gallery for the Green venice
Review the Marais Poitevin
Green venice photos
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The Green Venice is the more Touristique part of the Marais Poitevin and is less than 1/3rd of the area of this intriguing area, find out more about the rest of the marshes, its history, its nature and importance to the area of the Marais Poitevin
Checkout more attractions in the vendee
Restaurants in the Green Venice