When we talk about Poitevin marsh, an image immediately comes to mind, that of the traditional and famous boat trip. All of this flat bottom boats advance in complete tranquility along the water, thus sinking into this green maze also nicknamed the Green Venice. This is the way to discover as closely as possible the intimacy of this natural environment labeled Grand Site de France and Marais Poitevin Regional Natural Park.

Embark on a unique experience

If you are looking for both unique and relaxing experience, boat trip through winding channels is an activity not to be missed. Whether you are passing through for a weekend or a week, whether you have already been here or live nearby, with family, as a couple, with friends or alone, the boat trip should be enjoyed without moderation!

When you board these dishes you will suddenly feel like privileged. Get into this green lung, to discover its intimacy, thus offering you a breathtaking view of the natural and preserved landscapes. Open your eyes, admire the majestic pollarded ash trees at the edge of the water, listen to the song of Kingfisher and lapping of coypus who swim. Fauna and flora are there to awaken all your senses.

With a boatman guide, for a commented ride

To a successful boat trip, nothing better than to opt for the services of a boatman guide. The boatman guides are passionate experts and qualified who know every corner of the Poitevin marsh and who will share with you Fascinating information about history, culture, traditions and flora and fauna of this territory full of mysteries.

With their know-how and their experience, the boatman guides will take you through the winding canals of the Green Venice for help you discover the most remarkable corners and sometimes unusual, like the picturesque villages, locks, bridges… You will have nothing else to do than enjoy the landscape and the story that this enthusiast will tell you, while seated on your boat. Generally, the walks last between 1 hour and 2 hours 30 minutes.


Since the Poitevin marsh is a land of traditions, some guides have preserved the pigouille to move the boats forward. Funny word isn't it? Pigouille is a large wooden stick which was used at the time to move boats forward before oars and paddles appeared. For a experience more GENUINE and immersive, some piers wanted to keep this method thus making this even more unique ride. You will notice this disconcerting ease with which the boatman leads the boat, do not hesitate to ask him to try, you will see that It is an art.

The fire on water magic trick

In the option boat trip with boatman guide, the latter will transform into magician for a few moments. For what ? For they will place before your eyes fire on the water. Yes, you read correctly, the water will catch fire and that's a incredibly gripping spectacle. This demonstration unusual has become a tradition during each boat trip.

The secret of this magic trick is completely natural process. In the fall season, the leaves of the trees fall into the canals, piling up at the bottom of the water. With the constant movement of water, a layer of mud then comes to cover these dead leaves in full decomposition, releasing carbon dioxide. These are then pockets of methane which form in the shallow waters of the Poitevin marsh. By performing energetic movements using of the pigouille and/or oars, the boatman will then pierce this gas pocket which will rise again. When the bubble then explodes on the surface, the boatman activates a lighter at the water's edge and this is how the water catches fire. Incredible right?

Virginie Pegoraro

Fire on the water

A magical moment when the flames dance on the waters of Green Venice.

Without a guide, for a completely independent stroll

Virginie Pegoraro
autonomous-boat trip-niort-marais-poitevin

You do not have to choose a guide to carry out your boat trip. You can rent your boat and leave independently discovering this labyrinth using plans that the pier will give you.
Several routes will be offered to you depending on the duration you want to do. Self-guided boat trip c'est un moment of conviviality guaranteed! You will see, it is not so easy to move forward despite these calm waters. Your arms will be put to the test because don't forget... You're the one paddling! Children can also be involved, don't forget to ask before you go oars adapted to their size.
Please note that you will be provided with everything you need before your departure, including life jackets, a container to store your personal belongings and maps with the names of the canals and conches.

For sports enthusiasts, try canoeing

It's a good option for sports and nature lovers. The advantage of canoeing is its size. Lightweight, fast, easy to transport and maneuver but especially less imposing than a traditional boat, it will then be able to lead you more easily through the meanders of the Poitevin marsh. It is wilder nature which will offer itself to you, allowing you to sink into in the depths of this preserved nature.


Do you have your equipment?

Do you have your own equipment? Please note that many launching slipways are located throughout the Marais Poitevin. Do not hesitate to ask for the list at the Tourist Office.

For people with disabilities

There are several piers accessible to people with disabilities on the Niort – Marais Poitevin destination to allow everyone, without exception, to fully enjoy traditional boat trips and discover the wonders of Green Venice. These piers are equipped with access ramps, adapted pontoons and boats specially designed to accommodate wheelchairs.

It is recommended to contact the piers before your boat trip to best organize it, providing information on specific accessibility needs. In this way, the necessary equipment and services can be put in place to guarantee a pleasant navigation experience adapted to each person.

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