It's time to decide on your next holiday destination, you've got a few days ahead of you and you need to reset all the meters. Clearly, you need only one thing, peace and quiet. The solution may be to head west to the South Vendee for a stay in the Marais Poitevin. You will be far from the madness of the coast and you will be able to choose from about twenty campsites. Most of them are small establishments where the key word is calmness and some of them have even included the discovery of this fabulous environment in their programme of activities.
An exceptional natural setting... largely artificial
The Marais Poitevin covers more than 110,000 hectares. It is largely artificial and is the result of work dating back to the Middle Ages. It is divided into three zones. The coastal zone, the dry marsh and the wet marsh known as the "Green Venice". It is the latter that interests us. To discover this very special environment, criss-crossed by canals, you can hire a boat (a flat one), take a map and set off "nose to wind". The other solution, which we recommend, is to go to one of the piers that line the marsh (Damvix, Maillezais, Velluire, Saint-Sigismond, le Mazeau, Coulon, Maillé, etc.). You can, alone or with others, set off for one or two hours of total happiness and take in the sights. At the helm of the boat are boatmen who know the Marais perfectly. Many of them are, moreover, fabulous storytellers. While taking you along at the rhythm of the water, they will tell you the history but also and above all... the stories of the Marais.
Water and nature combine with the sky
Whichever way you choose, the magic will happen once you get on board. Once you're a little further away from the pier, you'll have the feeling that someone has... turned the outside world off. Imagine an hour spent in the cool, an hour during which you will sometimes have difficulty distinguishing between the water and what grows above it, an hour punctuated by encounters with the inhabitants of the marsh, herons and other coypu. Sometimes, as you come out of a bend in the road, you will pass under magnificent ruins such as those of the Abbey of Maillezais. With a bit of luck, your guide will tell you about Rabelais, the monk builders and the Chouans. When you set foot on the riverbank, you will feel totally refreshed.
The marsh as a starting point
But the magic of the Marais Poitevin also lies in the richness of its environment. Your holidays in the region can also be an opportunity to discover a fabulous natural heritage of course, but also cultural, historical or architectural, knowing that these two are often intertwined. The list sometimes looks like an inventory à la Prévert. Go for a walk in the Forêt de Mervent and take the opportunity to visit the medieval town of Vouvant which, over the years, has become a village of artists and more precisely of painters. For lovers of old stones, take half a day to visit the Royal Abbey of Nieul sur l'Autise on your own or with a guide. Once off the boat, spend a few hours in the ruins of Maillezais Abbey, which you will have discovered "from below" during your trip on the water. Stop for a snack or a plate of frogs' legs or eels in Coulon, considered the capital of the Green Venice.
In conclusion, spending a holiday in the Marais Poitevin is the assurance of completely unplugging. It is also, during one or more boat trips, an opportunity to put yourself "off" ... to let time take its course.