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Sèvre Nantaise River

Sud Vendee.. Haut Bocage.. Coastal Region.. Marais Poitevin.. Marais Breton.. Bas Bocage.. Plaine.. Marais Olonne..

The source of the river is just north of Niort in the department of Deux-Sèvres near the village of Secondigny. The Sèvre Nantaise forms the boundary between the departments Deux-Sèvres and the Vendée from St.Mesmin to  5 kilometres south of Mallièvre where it enters the Vendée proper. Its journey through the Haut Bocage continues past the Valley-du-Poupet, St.Laurent-sur-Sèvre on past Mortagne-sur-Sèvre before again forming the boundary this time between the Vendèe and the Maine-et-Loire and then the Loire Atlantique departments before leaving the Vendèe at Clisson and continuing northwards to join the mighty Loire River.
The Sèvre Nantaise is not only the prettiest river in the Vendée but has also been deeply involved in the history of the region. It is historically the boundary between the major regions that have controlled this part of France since prehistoric times, starting with the Celts to the north and the Pictons to the south. In Medieval times it was the confluence between the three provinces of Poitou, Anjou and Brittany and with the Revolution the region was divided up between the current Departments of Vendée , Deux Sèvres, Loire et Maine and Loire Atlantique.
The 159 kilometre long river starts at an elevation of 215m and the resulting drop has allowed for its power to be harnessed to drive industrial machinery. This started in the XI century and resulted in the great industrial revolution of the Vendée with some 145 water mills driving such diverse trades as paper making, tanning, cloth and wool weaving, fuller mills for degreasing and felting woollen fabrics, mills for washing and dying cloth, thistle mills with teasel covered drums for finishing woollen fabrics, powder-mills for crushing charcoal, saltpetre and sulphur and mills grinding grain. France’s last working water driven wool mill can be visited at Foulon near Cugand. Of these 145 mills the majority were for grinding grain though nearly a third were involved in the fulling or woollen industries and it was therefore not surprising that towns and villages sprung up along the river with trades needed to augment these mills such as weavers, spinners cloth merchants, dyers, carpenters and wheel-wrights, forges and blacksmiths, stationers and transport specialists.
Although most of these mills no longer continue their trades their legacy is priceless and the many weirs and waterways that were needed to store and divert the water power now provide  idyllic settings on this gently meandering river. It also provides ideal conditions for canoeing and kayaking and picturesque settings for artists and photographers.
History has left us with some memorable attractions, besides the water mills with their weirs namely the boundaries between the differing provinces which have left a string of medieval castles from St. Mesmin, Châteaumur, Mortagne-sur-Sèvre, Tiffauges and Clisson. Where there are castles then religion is never very far away and the most notable representation of this is the holy town of St.Laurent-sur-Sèvre with its magnificent basilica and many other churches, convents and religious buildings. Also of note along the river are the medieval wall paintings in the church at la Pommeraie-sur-Sèvre.
The Vendèe's only Stream railway starts at Mortagne-sur-Sevre and run through the Haut bocage crossing the Sèvre Nantaise on the Viaduct Barbin above the glorious Parc du barbinière on its way to les Epesses.

Tributaries of the River Sèvre Nantaise. There is only one in the Vendèe, The River Grande Maine, that rises in the Vendée and with its smaller sibling La Petite Maine it joins the Sèvre Nantaise a few kilometres before the confluence with the mighty River Loire at Nantes.
The Grande Maine rises north of Les Herbiers near the Puy du Fou and flows North West to St.Georges Montaigu where it is joined by the Petite Maine which rises near les Essarts. The river then flows north through Montaigu before leaving the Vendèe.

Campsites along the Sèvre Nantaise River.

St.Laurent-sur-Sèvre. Camping le Rouge Gorge, route Verrie.  Tel. 02 51 67 86 39.
St.Malo-du-Bois. Camping Manicipal Poupet.  Tel.02 51 92 31 45.
Tiffauges. Camping la Vallée, Le Vatican, Tiffauges. Tel.02 51 65 75 65

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Sevre Nantaise River at Mallievre in the East Vendee
Sevre Nantaise at Tiffages, North Vendee
River Sevre Nantaise at the Valley du Poupet.
Photos of the Sevre Nantaise River