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Rambling and Horse Riding

Rambling

Walking along the pathways is one of the best ways to visit the deepest part of the Marais poitevin and see what nature has to offer first hand. From a simple stroll to a hike of several dozen kilometres, everyone can discover the landscapes at his or her own speed.

For the most part, these pathways and walkways are marked with signs. There are no particular difficulties in our area. It is however better to take maps. (All the documents are on sale at the Tourist Office).

The Way of St James

The St James Way pilgrimage appears in the 9th century after the discovery of the relics of apostle James, but it was not until the 11th century that it became one of the major Catholic pilgrimages of Christendom.
Four main routes crisscross France before crossing the Pyrenees to reach Compostela, Spain: The Tours Route, called Via Turonensis, 1750 km long, passes near Niort and connects Paris-Tours and St-Jean-Pied-de-Port.
Various secondary routes create a vast network around these great Ways of St. James and Niort is thus crossed by the route coming from Brittany, passing through Angers, then Parthenay.  Further south it joins Aulnay de Saintonge.
This itinerary is now retraced by the GR 36.
Plenty of Roman churches and old houses thereby display the scallop shell, symbol of welcome for pilgrims.
The panorama offered on this Way, along the rivers and across the densely wooded plains invites reflection.  New pilgrims, in search of spirituality or just the pleasure of walking, enjoy a layover in the historic heart of Niort and follow in the footsteps of their illustrious predecessors.
An alternative Way, starting from Nantes, reaches the abbeys near the Marais Poitevin and crosses the old Gulf of Pictons around Saint-Hilaire-la-Palud Village; along the Mignon Canal, passing through Mauzé-sur-le-Mignon then Surgères, to finally join the Via Turonensis...

Credential, crédenciale or créanciale :
This individual Pilgrim’s log allows simultaneously to validate “pilgrim” status and thus qualify for some sites or services - mainly in Spain - but above all, attesting to the journey accomplished by a seal (“sello”) affixed by Tourism Bureaus, over successive stages.
This document provides the Compostela, official certificate attesting to the pilgrimage’s completion.

The Scallop Shell:
Originally the symbol of the pilgrimage to Compostela completed.  Over the centuries it has become the distinctive sign of places and buildings established on the different Christian pilgrimage itineraries.  It can be carved on door lintels and announces an assured welcome to pilgrims.

The Long Distance Hiking Trail GR 36:
For 1000 km it connects the English Channel to the Mediterranean and uses, for a large part, the Ways of St.James; this is the case for more than 150 km in Deux-Sèvres.
To the south, the GR de Pays de la Sylve d'Argenson offers a 45 km loop from Beauvoir-sur-Niort.
Visual marking:  white, yellow and red markings
GRP: Chizé

Horse Riding

The time of a ride in a horse drawn carriage, or on a saddled donkey or on a pony, explore our path ways. Another way to enjoy our landscapes and our villages which change with the seasons.

Get information from our partners - , la Maison du Cheval riding centre, the Relais équestre Equinoxe riding centre, or le Coq à l'Ane, who will go out of their way to make sure that you enjoy the lovely parts of our area with your mount.

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