Explore Green Venice!
Explore the Green Venice, the Marais Poitevin - Vendee, Loire Valley
Treat yourself to a boat ride through the maze of channels, narrow waterways and canals of the Marais Poitevin marshland, the country's second-largest wetland, part of which extends into the Vendée. A unique opportunity to discover the secrets of this magical site nicknamed Venise Verte or Green Venice.
The Marais Poitevin: a labyrinth of waterways
You hear nothing but birdsong, ducks glide alongside you across the green water, trees form a tunnel of vegetation above your boat, a few cows watch you from the corner of their eye as you pass... Explore the maze of the marshland channels aboard a "plate", a traditional flat-bottom craft that's the best way to enjoy the charms and tranquillity of this incredible man-made site. You can choose to row alone or be guided by a boatman armed with the famous "pigouille" or quant, which allows them to steer the boat by leaning on the bottom.
Explore Green Venice in a boat, canoe, stand-up paddleboard and more...
The adventure begins from the handful of ten quays in the Vendée located in Damvix, Maillé, Le Mazeau, Maillezaisa and Saint-Pierre-le-Vieux, among others. Some bases offer an alternative to boats with canoes, pedalos and, recently, stand-up paddleboards. Note that as well as the waterways, there are also paths for walking, cycling and horse-riding.
Natural heritage treasures
Having left the canals, nature lovers can go and explore the biological reserve on the Île de Charrouin, or those around the towns of Nalliers and Mouzeuil-Saint-Martin, which spread across 346 acres. You can even continue on to Saint-Denis-du-Payré, a real paradise for birds, which the public can watch using telescopes. Don't miss the Maison du Maître de Digues in Chaillé-les-Marais, which explains the draining of part of the marshland, or Domus Populus, an amazing poplar reserve opened in 2016 near Maillezais. If you're passing through this town, you must visit the majestic ruins of the huge abbey that once dominated Green Venice. All you need to do is get in the water!