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The Green Venice,  Venise Verte

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The Green Venice or Venise Verte as it is called in France is really the more tourist intensive part of the Marais Poitevin. It is that part of the Marais Poitevin that was the last to be drained and is called the Marais mouille or wet marshes. It is world renown by artists who come here for the light and its juxtaposition with the water, the variety in the innumerable shades of green and to capture the magic of this enchanting corner of France. This lazy landscape is criss-crossed by a system of canals lined by willows and poplar trees. The slow flowing rivers of the Sèvre Noirtaise and the Vendée meander across this fen-like landscape with it's essential dyke systems which are necessary to control the water levels. The myriad canals are covered with green duck weed which gives it its name of Verice-Vert or Green Venice. Dotted along the banks are many pretty little stone cottages, which are a delight for the artist and tourist alike. These marshlands support a variety of flora and fauna, many of which are rare and unique. Much of this is best viewed either from the flat bottom boats on hire all along the canals or by taking a stroll along the many quiet footpaths. There are nature reserves at several places on the Marais Poitevin.

Coulon, Often referred to as the capital of Green-Venice this pretty village is on the banks of the Sèvre Niortaise river at the eastern end of the Green Venice, here you can hire boats and canoes with or without a guide to explore the many canals nearby.
Bicycles are also available for hire including multi-person family sized bicycles. There are excellent restaurants and cafes both alongside the waterways and in the centre of the village.
The Ancient church is of great interest
Arcais, This small charming village has a square with a church and interesting shops and restaurants. From the square you can take one of many small winding lanes with their interesting old cottages or you can take the main road down to the river and harbour which is overlooked by a small château. Boats are available with or without guides to explore the small canals and their wild life.

Damvix, Just down-stream from Arcais is Damvix and as you approach it on the road beside the River Sèvre Niortaise you will see the 15th century church of Damvix dominating the landscape. Crossing the bridge you enter into the village where you can hire boats or bicycles. There are several good restaurants and cafes here, and the restaurant boat leaves from here offering dinner cruises during the season.

Maillezais, This town is best known for its ruined abbey. It was once the home of the Benedictine monks who were responsible for draining of the gulf of Picton. It is said that in 1460 the waves were lapping at the foot of the abbey (which was then on the coast) when the bells for vespers were ringing, at the end of prayers the tide had gone out never to return and at a stroke Maillezais was 19 kilometres from the sea. During the holiday season the abbey hosts a variety of events including night time spectaculars.
Boats can be hired from a couple of locations near to the abbey.
The town of Maillezais has a 12th century church which predates the abbey. There are numerous restaurants and cafes in this pretty little town.
Read more on Maillezais

Situated at the crossroads of the D25 and D15 and on a loop of the river Sevre Niortaise,this attractive little village rarely gets a mention in most guides, but it has all the elements that make for a great detour on any visitors itinerary.
The village has a very attractive main street which includes a church with beautifully sculptured Romanesque  porch, old buildings and leads to the port de Maille complete with  picturesque bridge, locks and centre for hiring motorboats for discovering this corner of the Marais Poitevin.
The village also has an attractive windmill and the workings of one of marvels of marshes, that of the l'Aquaduc de Maille built in 1654.

Benet. On the edge of the Marais this small town grew wealthy from the trade brought in by the local harbours of Azire and Courdault

The Green Venice is the most tourist intensive part of the Marais Poitevin but is less than 1/3rd of the size of this intriguing area. Find out more about the rest of the marshes, its history, its nature and its importance to the area of the
Marais Poitevin

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Green Venice cottage on the banks of the Sevre Niortaise River
Coulon on the Green Venice
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Chambre d'Hotes in the heart of the Marais Poitevin