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Driving and bus Routes

By car or bus

The Green Venice of the Marais Poitevin (Niort / St-Hilaire-la-Palud)

65 km, 8 hours, easy

Les marais mouillés du Marais PoitevinSecond wetzone of France after the Camargue, the Marais poitevin was born from the union of the land and the water and the hard work of man. The "Venise Verte" (Green Venice) is a real cathedral of greenery with its lacy patterns of waterways covered in the summer with green lentils or pond-weed and populated by a rich wildlife - flora and fauna. Its history is told and retold by the boat-men of the landing stages pushing the "plate" (traditional flat boats) with the "pigouille" (long stick or punt), through the curtain of pollarded ashtrees and poplars, along the "cabanes", these traditional farms at the water's edge or on the banks. The visit can be continued on foot, by bike or on horseback along the pathways. The Maison du Marais Poitevin in Coulon and the bird reserve at Saint-Hilaire-la-Palud, a paradise for birds in the wild marshes, are two useful sites to discover to learn more about this "natural monument".

Itinerary "Green Venice" (in French, soon in English)

"Lines 21 and 22" : the Marais Poitevin by bus (Niort / St-Hilaire-la-Palud)

73 km, 2 hours 20 min, easy

La Ligne MaraîchinePicnics, bikes, boat trips... take a ticket for the Marais Poitevin ! The bus lines 21 and 22 run on weekends and on bank holidays in May, June and September, and everyday in July and August.

Niort/St-Hilaire-la-Palud with stops in Magné, Coulon, Sansais, le Vannea-Irleau and Arçais. 4 outwards and 5 return trips per day. 2.20 hours (1.04 hour single). Bikes are carried free of charge (limit of 8 bikes so advanced booking required at the Info Bus Kiosk which is situated at the bottom of the gardens of la Brèche in Niort and who can be reached on +33 5 49 24 50 56. Open Monday to Friday from 7.30 to 12.30 and from 13.30 to 18.30. Saturdays open from 9.30 to 12.00. Tickets available from the driver. Fares before 30/06 1,20€ single, 2,30€ round-trip (ticket Duo), 10 € booklet of 10 tickets. Fares from 01/07 : 1,30€ single, 20,30€ round-trip (ticket Duo), ... € for a booklet of 10 tickets. The ticket Duo allows you 10 % reduction on bike and boat hire and special prices in some restaurants. All the different tickets allow you to make the most of these services.

Itinerary "Bus lines 21 and 22" (in French, soon in English)

Between Marais and Aunis (Mauzé-sur-le-Mignon)

57 km, 8 h, easy

L'église Notre-Dame de Dey (Prin-Deyrançon)The Marais Poitevin is a large delta with an area of 110 000 hectares which spreads over three departments (counties): Vendée, Deux-Sèvres and Charente Maritime. This huge wetzone is bordered by little valleys and plains with brown chalky soils. These are made up of fragments of chalk torn out by farming, and make up a type of soil which is known locally as "groie". The lands are the domain of corn, sunflower and wheat growing. These landscapes which border the Marais Poitevin are populated by villages with springs, sometimes really little towns built on the highlands. They have an important heritage linked to water (mill races, fountains, wash-houses), and are a witness to an architecture that is more than an object of utility and which affirms itself as real public monument.

Itinerary "Between Marais and Aunis" (in French, soon in English)

Entre plaine et Sèvre Niortaise (Echiré)

53 km, 8 hours, easy

Les deux tours de Saint-RémyOn a colourful mosaic of blue, yellow and green, a rich and diversified historical and architectural heritage unfolds before the curious eyes of the visitor. The uncountable number of meanders of the Green Valley of the river Sèvre Niortaise, underlined by a great curtain of trees unveils its small communes with charming churches, Huguenot temples and castles from different periods. Situated between the valley and the plain, is the plain of Niort with its chalky brown soils. Discover the rural architecture and the heritage of its large villages in the hollows of the fields of cereal crops.

Itinerary "Entre plaine et Sèvre Niortaise" (in French, soon in English)

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