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The SUD VENDEE
·From the Atlantic coast to the Marais Poitevin and beyond to the Mervent-Vouvant forest
the South Vendée is as relaxing as it is inviting to those who visit.
Everywhere nature’s exuberance captivates and enthrals with its sheer
diversity, it is genuinely a nature lover’s paradise.Water, the symbol
of wealth and purity is the key to this intriguing natural playground, The River Lay
and its tributaries cross the bocage on their slow meandering journey
to the sea leaving behind green and pleasant valleys with their farms,
orchards and vineyards before crossing and draining the Marais Poitevin
(marais dessèche). The river Vendée has its source in the Haut Bocage
and is joined by the River Mere in the heart of the Mervent forest
where barrages have dammed the river. This has created a necklace of
magical and picturesque lakes which are a natural playground for
walkers, bikers, and all manner of sports and recreation. The river then
makes its way through Fontenay le Comte before lazily crossing the plaine (Lucon-Fontenay Prairie) and joining the river Sèvre Niortaise in the Marais Poitevin.
The coastal region stretches from La Tranche sur Mer, with its dedication to nautical sports and family friendly beaches, southwards past the Belle Henriette nature reserve to the Anse de L’Aiguillon. The next town after La Tranche sur Mer is the beach resort of La Faute-sur-Mer
with its golden sands stretching for miles to the South. Crossing the
bridge over the Lay Estuary from La Faute-sur-Mer one arrives at ’LAiguillon-sur-mer,
the mussel capital of the Vendée, with its ultra safe man made beach
and lakes. Then there is the road along the (man made) dyke, built by
the Dutch, to the Point de l’Aiguillon with its acres of mussel beds just off shore.
The Marais Poitevin, a large area of marshland which
extends past the boundaries of the Vendée, is the second largest area of
wetlands in France. Water is an important key to this region and it is
at its most dynamic on the Marais Poitevin. Divided into 3 main types
each with their own character and charm, the Marais Poitevin is a unique
and peaceful area of the Vendée. By far the most visited and most
talked about is the area of the Marais Mouille, the wet marshes which
are more commonly referred to as the Green Venice
or Venice Vert. A labyrinth of tree lined canals covered with green
duckweed and punctuated by pretty white houses with coloured shutters
makes this an area of picture postcard beauty and tranquillity.
The Towns and villages of the Region have their feet solidly
planted in history. The Renaissance town of Fontenay-le-Comte was the
former capital of the Bas Poitou, the name of the pre-revolution Vendée,
and is its architectural jewel . Other notable towns and villages are Luçon, with its Cathedral, the villages of Mervent and Vouvant with their ancient ruined castles and Maillezais and Nieul-sur-l'Autise
with their abbeys and Royal connections. From all of these places came
legendary and illustrious men who shaped not only the land but the very
fabric of Vendéen life.
12kms from Fontenay-le-comte is both publicly and privately owned, and
is a haven of tranquillity for both people and wildlife alike. The
damming of the Rivers Mere and Vendée have created lakes which are a
paradise for fishermen, water sports enthusiasts and those who just like
to be near water. The forest has been laid out with over 200 kilometres
of well marked footpaths and offers some of the best walks to be found
anywhere in the Vendée. The local tourist office has plans of all of
these walks together with distances and their difficulty. For full details of the forest and its amenities view our Mervent Forest page.
The Plaine (Lucon-Fontenay Prairie) This natural grass land was the
ancient coastal plain in the time before the Marais Poitevin started to
silt up. Today, during the summer months it is a land where golden
wheat, tall corn and yellow sunflowers dominate the view as far as the
eye can see. For full details go to the Plaine page
Wines of the South Vendée. The wines of the south Vendée are
grown in four distinct areas mainly the Fiefs Vendéen label, athough
some Vin du Pays is also grown. The main areas are Mareuil-sur-Lay, Vix, Pissotte and around Chantonnay. To find out more about these wines and to discover the wine route view our wines of the Vendée page.
Bike Hire on the Marais Poitevin;
l'Aiguillon-sur-mer: Bien eric. 33 rue Jacques Moreau. Tel. 02 5156 49 01.
La Faute-sur-Mer: Locacycles,3,Route la Tranche. Tel. 02 51 27 14 73.
La Tranche-sur-Mer: Atout Cycles. 125 Bl.Mar.de Lattre de Tassigny. Tel. 02 51 27 71 25.
Bien ric. 23,rue Sables d'Olonne. Tel. 02 51 30 10 44.
Cyclo Trek. 21,rue Pertuis Breton. Tel. 02 51 30 40 50.
Damvix.Equestrian Centre, 2,La Maison des Champs. Tel. 06 80 45 69 98.
Maillezais: Embarcadere de l'Abbaye. Le Grand Port. Tel. 02 51 87 21 87
Le Mazeau: Le Port. Tel. 02 51 52 90 73.
L'Aiguillon sur Mer. Ranch de Cacharel 02 51 29 42 82.
Pony riding 1-4 hrs. Beginners games.
Fontenay le Comte.
Fontenaisien 02 51 51 11 34
Horse riding lessons,outings, courses
l'Ane Vert. 02 28 13
Trekking with a donkey, trips in Mervent forest and Marais Poitevin.
St Maurice des Noues and Vouvant. La Garreliere.
Bruno & Beatrice Ripaud Tel 02 51 00 81 55. www.ripaud-equitation.com
St Hilaire des Loges. Tel 02 51 52 13 71
Benet. Stable of the Marais. www.ecuriedumarais.com.
Roulottes du sud Vendée. Horse drawn caravans. Tel 02 51 46 83 49.
Boating & Canoeing;
Marais Poitevin. Including the River Sèvre-Niotaise.
Damvix. There are three companies that hire canoes for trips
around the nearby
Tel. 02 51 87 12 01
Loisirs Tel. 02 51 87 14 00
Tel. 02 51 87 18 18.
La Gue de Valluire: le Guetreen,7, rue place de la Riviere Tel. 02 51 52 53 87.
8€1h 12€ 2hours.
Longville-sur-Mer. Maison des Marais, La Pepiere, route d'Angles.
Tel.02 51 90 36 63. & 06
86 61 14 18
Maille Tel 02 51 87 07 52
Maillezais. Arie Loirsirs Grand port. Tel 02 51 87 14 00
Coulon (deux Sèvres)There are several points of location with in the village
Arcais two points of location in the village.
River Vendèe. Fontenay-le-Comte. Canoe-Kayak C.K.F. Route Orbie, Base Pilorge.
Tel.06 11 04 64 06. July August.
By the bridge, organised by local canoeing club.
Mervent Forest. Base Nautique, Mervent available all year round to
discover the Rivers Mere and Vendée.
Chene Todd. The adventure centre organises canoe a kayak
trips in various places including sea
kayaking. Tel. 02 51 00 20 63
Xanton-Chassenon. Just south of Fontenay-le-Comte at the swimming pool lake.
River Lay. Mareuil-sur-lay. Just under the bridge in the main street.
DIRIAM Location - 1
place circulaire - 85320 Mareuil-sur-Lay-Dissais
Towns & Villages in the South Vendee