Le Marais Poitevin - Maillezais

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Canon eos 500d 18-200mm sigma lens AS IS
Having now lived in SW France for 8 years and NOT been for a row we decided after a very long hot day of walking round fabulous Abbaye’s we would treat ourselves to an hour of fun! It is completely fascinating along this river and this particular area was used for salt trade from La Rochelle to L’Abbaye Maillezais, the salt was then stored in the cellars ready to be used for exchanges or everyday life! Le grande port de Marais Poitevin is right in the heart of the the venise vert so would have been extremely busy at some point one feel!

The Marais Poitevin (pronounced: [maʁɛ pwatvɛ̃], Poitevin Marsh) is a large area of marshland in Western France, a remnant of the former Gulf of Poitou (the name meaning “Poitou’s Marsh”, “Marsh of Poitou region”). It consists for two thirds of a western zone near the sea called the “dry marsh” (or “dried marsh”), used for farming and breeding, and for one third of an eastern zone called the “wet marsh”, a maze of islets criss-crossed by picturesque canals now used for touristic rowboating and nicknamed The Green Venice (la Venise Verte).

With a surface area of 970 km², it is the largest marsh on the Atlantic coast and the second largest of the whole country (after the Camargue). Extending across three departments (Vendée, Deux-Sèvres, and Charente-Maritime), it is situated west of Niort, north of La Rochelle, and south of Fontenay-le-Comte.

Although the area was declared a Regional Natural Park (parc naturel régional) in 1979, it lost that status in 1997 as intensive agricultural development around the Marsh meant the unique character of the region was endangered, leaving only a core Interregional Park (Parc Interrégional du Marais poitevin) of 185 km². Attempts to get back the full Park label started in 2002, leading to a new chart being proposed in 2006; accepted by the local authorities, it was rejected in late 2008 by the government due to a perceived “juridical fragility”.

Tourism includes boating in traditional barques, which is a form of punting. There are several piers (embarcadères), from which boats can be hired. The myriad canals are covered in green duckweed (hence the Green Venice nickname) and the drained marsh land is home to a varied fauna.

The Marais Poitevin is also the most important area of angelica cultivation in France.

and lastly and incindentally this river was about the only one NOT to freeze in the winter of 2012!

In the Abbaye Grounds

Artwork Comments

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