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The Vendee at the Mervent Forest
River Sevre Niortaise at Damvix
River Sevre nantaise at the Valley-du-Poupet

Rivers of the Vende

Following the revolution France was split up into Departments and most of these departments took on the name of largest river within the area. However the Vendee was not the largest river in the new department, but due to strong pressure from active politicians from Fontenay-le-Comte the Vendee was chosen, it should have been called the Deux Lays.
Besides the main rivers that flow through the Department, The lay, the Vie and the Vendee with their tributaries there are also the Deux Sevres which form the boundaries to the east and south.
In the following pages we will follow each of these major rivers from their source to either the sea, or to where they leave the Vendee or join one of the larger rivers. We will look at the towns and villages along the way, points of interest, their effect on the history, industries,and the culture. Where possible we will give guides for cycling, walking and driving to capture the essence of each and as always there will be photos and videos to help create a total visual package of what all these rivers have to offer.

The rivers we will cover we be:

                                   The Vendee. With its source near l'Absie in the west of the Deux Sevre department, its passage through the Mervent forest where it is joined by the river Mere, through the historic town of Fontenay-le-comte on across part of the Marais Poitevin, forming a border with Charente-Maritime before finally entering the Sevre Niortaise river near Marans.

The River Lay.  Its source is at Saint-Pierre-du-Chemin . It flows generally southwest for 120.3kms into the Bay of Biscay  between La Faute-sur-Mer  and L'Aiguillon-sur-Mer. It is joined by the petit Lay just west of Chantonnay then passes through Mareuil-sur-lay and the wine producing lands where it is joined by the river Yon and then across the northern limits of the Marais Poitevin.

                                       The River Vie. Its source is to the south of Belleville-sur-Vie though other tributaries commence to the north and west of the town. The river flow westward through the bocage via le Poire-sur-Vie and La Chapelle-Palluau before entering the lake (formed by a barrage at Apremont ) just north of Marche. The lake formed by the damming of the river is the Vendee's largest lake.It continues its journey through the bocage till it is joined by the river Ligneron at Notre-Dame-de-Riez from here on it collects waters from the marais before finally being joined by the river Jaunay in the port of St.Gilles Croix-de-Vie and discharging its waters into the Atlantic Ocean.

                                       The River Boulogne. The source of the river is at the aptly name La Belle Entree just south west of Les Essarts then travels north west through the bocage passing by St.Dennis-la-Chevasse, les Lucs-sur-Boulogne and Rocheserviere, from here on it forms the border with the neighbouring Department of the Loire Atlantique finally leaving the Vendee before entering the Lac de Grand-Lieu.

                                       The River Sevre Nantaise. The source of the river is just north of Niort in the department of Deux-Sevres and forms the boundary between the two departments from St.Mesmin to 5 kms south of Mallievre where it enters the Vendee proper. Its journey through the Haut Bocage continue past the Valley-du-Poupet, St.Laurent-sur-Sevre on past Mortagne-sur-Sevre before again forming the boundary this time between the Vendee and the Maine-et-Loire and then the Loire Atlantique departments before leaving the Vendee at Clisson and continuing northwards to join the mighty Loire River.

                                                The River Sevre Niortaise. As with the Sevre Nantaise this river has its source in the Deux Sevre department, but this one flows westerly through Niort before forming the border between the Vendee and Deux Sevres Departments at La Village de la Sevre near Le Mazeau. It breifly enters the Vendee as it passes through Damvix and then remakes the border between the Vendee and the Charente-Maritime. From Maille on towards L'Ile-d'Elle the river meanders along the border with the Charente-Maritime except that there are several canals which straightens the flow. At L'Ile-d'Elle it is joined by the river Vendee, then continues through Marans before once again forming the border between the two departments near Brault for its final journey into the Anse de l'Aiguillon.      

These are the major rivers of the vendee and with a few exceptions all other rivers form tributaries to these and so will be mentioned on the relative pages.
Rivers not forming tributaries to these major rivers include;
The River Payre,  a small river with many tributaries that flows through Talmont St.Hilaire and empties into the Atlantic at the Point du Payre.
The River Auzance, rising near St.Flaive des Loups flowing through la Mothe-Achard and empting into the Marais Olonnne and then into the Atlantic via La Granges and Les Sables d'Olonne.

The River Vertonne. Rising near St.Avaugourd-des-Landes and flows like the River Auzance into the Marais Olonne.
The Grand Etier. The main drainage river of the Marais Breton it  rises near Froidfond, skirts around Challon then flows into the Baie de Bourgneuf at Fromentine.
Etier du Dain.  Like the Grand Etier this river drains the northern part of the Marais Breton it flows into the Baie du Bourgneuf at the Port du Bec.

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