Information Vendee History
The River Vendée
which gave its name to the Department has its source at St Paul
Gâtines, in the Deux Sévre Department 14 kilometers east of La-Chataigneraie, It enters the Department of the Vendee near
La Chapelle-aux-Lys and then heads southwards in a slow and meandering fashion
through the rolling Bocage countryside picking up small tributaries along the
way. The river passes through the village of St.Hilaire-de-Voust then
skirts around Marillet, la Verrerie and Faymoreau
before turning west towards the Mervent
The Barrage d'Albert forms a lake at Chassenon le Bourg where
there is a swimming area and where boats can be hired. The river at this point
turns and heads north through the forest to be joined by the River Mere at Mervent.
The River Mere starts its life at La Popiniere
Papin 5kms north of La Chataigneraie flowing east around the town then through
Antigny on its way to Vouvant. The Barrages at Vouvant and then lower downstream at
Pierre Brune along with the barrage de Mervent turn this small slow moving river
into wide and tree lined lakes thereby completely changing its character. This
is possibly the most interesting and picturesque stretch of the river. The steep
sided forested valleys that the river flows through are a haven for nature
with a wide range of flora and fauna which includes the rare short toed Eagle,
it is of course an ideal playground for man with fishing, boating, walking,
cycling, climbing or any other pursuit that you care to do. It is near to the
barrage at Mervent that it joins the Vendée river to continue its journey out of
the Bocage and onto the plaine having first flowed through Fontenay-le-Comte.
It was at Fontenay-le-Comte that the
river became navigable and the town remained as a working port well into the
20th century. The River is not tidal at this point and navigation was only made
possible by locks at its confluence with the River Sévre Niortaise at l'Ile d'Elle and at Boisse where the
Barrage de Boisse controlled the water levels and a loop with
locks using the small river Longeves made it possible to bypass the
Below Boisse the river skirts the chalk cliffs that separate the
Plaine from the Marais and it is still possible to see the remains of the small
ports of Chaix, Velluire and le Gue de Velluire. It is at Velluire that the
river finally leaves the Plaine behind as it enters the Marais
poitevin and the slow meandering river straightens and fulfils it's major
roll, that of draining the marshlands and irrigating the productive polders that were created by the Benedictine Monks many
centuries before. The final stretch of its journey is around the ancient island
of l'Ile d'Elle, again there was a small port here in the past, but of more
importance and interest is the last 300 meters or so of its journey before
joining the River Sévre Niortaise. A set of lock gates (now abandoned and in
ruins) controlled the entrance, a modern barrage now controls the water levels
here making the river un-navigable, but equally important and interesting is
the aqueduct that takes the Canal des Boches under the river Vendée.
Though not well signposted it is well worth seeking out these interesting
engineering works as in a very small area you have most of the elements that
made the draining and use of these marshes possible.
Attractions along the
The Parc d'acrobaties, Mervent
Boating on the River Vendée
Nautique Mervent. Mervent Forest.
Velluire. 2 rue du Port de la
Fouarne Tel. 02.51.52.32.15
Camping along the River
Chene Tord,34 Chemin du Chene Tord, Mervent. Tel. 02 51
00 20 63.
Camping La Jamoniere. 129,rue de la Bironniere, Mervent. Tel 02 51
00 26 29.
Camping La Joletiere, La Joletiere, Mervent Tel. 02 5100 26
Le Petit Booth, 79 Rue National, l'Ile d'Elle. Tel.02 51 52 00
Restaurants along the River Vendée.
Vert, Vouvant. Tel.02 51 00 88 49.
Auberg de Maitre Pannetier,
Vouvant. Tel 02 51 00 80 12.
Au Fil de l'Eau. 116 route Touristique, Mervent
Te. 02 51 00 00 04
Ermitage de Pierre Brune, Mervent. Tel. 02 51 00 25
Joletiere. Mervent. Tel. 02 51 00 21 04.
Restaurants Fontenay see page
Auberge de la Riviere, Velluire. Tel. 02 51 52 32
Auberge du Quaireau, 2, rue Ports Neuf, l'Ile d'Elle. Tel. 02 51 52 01
Le Commerce, 11,rue Commerce, L'Ile d'Elle. Tel. 02 51 00 05 28.
Route 66. Lac
du Chassenon, St.Michel-le-Clouq. Tel 02 51 00 85 16
of the River Vendée
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