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From washhouses to castles / summer version - Trail Station

Discover the Niort - Marais Poitevin Trail Station, its most beautiful landscapes and its best routes for a day, a weekend or a week of sport!



Panneau carré blanc et noir avec intitulé Station de Trail

Nature (faune, flore)

This trail is part of the Niort - Marais Poitevin Trail Station.

A course with a beautiful sequence! Surprisingly flat. Lots of short climbs and descents to follow, with rolling sections in between, making this a varied and physical route. Please note that from 01 November to 31 March the chain boat is not available, so you'll need to add a few kilometres.

-> Trail Station signposted route

From washhouses to castles / summer version - Trail Station

Distance : 16.2 km

Step 1: Moulin d'âne

This nickname, spelt in Old French "anne" or "enne" meaning duck, may be the result of the constant presence of ducks.
This private property is an old wheat or fulling mill, mentioned as early as 1260 and owned in the 17th century by Mme de Mougon, owner of the Surimeau dwelling. In 1864, the Prefect of the Deux-Sèvres authorised the owners of the Ste-Pezenne mills to undertake work to channel the course of the river. This was still the golden age of the Sèvre mills, which transformed wheat grains into white flour that was exported as far away as the West Indies! After the First World War, they disappeared with the advent of electric flour mills. After the Second World War, the moulin d'Ane reach was converted into a communal swimming pool. Imagine bathers in one-piece suits, wooden cabins and diving boards! A municipal by-law banned all public swimming in 1969.

Step 2: La Sèvre Niortaise

The Sèvre Niortaise is a coastal river that rises near Sepvret in the Deux-Sèvres department, flows through Niort, then descends into the Marais Poitevin, where it forms the main hydraulic artery, before finally emptying into the Atlantic Ocean in the Anse de l'Aiguillon opposite the Ile de Ré.

Step 3: Église de Sainte Pezenne

The oldest church in Niort was built on the site of a temple dedicated to Thor, rebuilt in the 11th and 17th centuries, and altered from the 15th to the 20th century. It was listed in 2003.
At the time of Clovis, Pezenne fled her native Spain to Aquitaine, where exactions reigned. She died of exhaustion on a hillside on the Sèvre Niortaise. Miraculous cures around her tomb led to a popular pilgrimage. In 1147, during the Second Crusade, Eleanor of Aquitaine donated the remains to the Count of Vermandois, who took them to St-Quentin in northern France. The town was taken in 1557 by the army of Philip II of Spain. The emperor gave the relic to his sister, the Empress of Germany. On her death, she returned it to her country of origin. Her body was placed in a chapel in the royal palace of El Escorial in Madrid. A phalanx of the nun was donated to the Pexin parish in 1955.

Step 4: Sciecq

Sitting on a promontory, the village, grouped around its church, is hemmed in by a wide loop of the Sèvre Niortaise. Its Latin name, Scissoe aquae, is linked to the existence of four ancient fords. Saziacum was mentioned in 989 in connection with a reconciliation between Duke William IV of Aquitaine and his wife Emma. The carved shell to the right of the old south door of the sanctuary is a reminder that Sciecq is located on one of the secondary routes of the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago de Compostela. In this natural setting, the landscape - a miniature blend of plain, marsh and hedged farmland - and the river heritage are an invitation to take refreshing country walks.

Step 5: Église Sainte Madeleine

The church consists of a single 25 m long nave with a ceiling, no transept, and a vaulted apse painted with a starry celestial vault. The capitals of the second bay supporting the bell tower are adorned with an ox's head held by the horns by two monsters, a centaur hunting while shooting his arrows, a mermaid (La Mellusine) plaiting her hair and flanked by a boar... To the right of the walled southern door, a sculpted shell reminds us that the building is located on one of the secondary Jacobean routes through the Deux-Sèvres.

Step 6: Bateau à chaîne

The chain boat known as "Le Mursay" is a system that has been set up to cross the canals of the Marais Poitevin quickly and easily. Just pull the chain and it will pull you across to the other side of the river.

Step 7: Château de Mursay

In the 16th century, this manor house, now a garden of ruins listed as a Historic Monument, was the fiefdom of Agrippa d'Aubigné, grandfather of the Marquise de Maintenon, a great poet of the Baroque period and squire to the future Henri IV, who spent the happiest days of his life here in 1576. The Allée du Roy, an avenue of three hundred-year-old lime trees, bears this name in memory of his stay.
Situated on the left bank of the Sèvre, on a terrace on stilts above high water, below the Gallic road known as the Magné road, close to a ford, the former castel used as an outpost at Coudray-Salbart was transformed into a château d'agrément between 1596 and 1613 by Agrippa d'Aubigné, who extensively and comfortably rebuilt it.

Step 8: Château des loups

Private property. Set in lush greenery, Château des Loups has preserved its anonymity away from the public eye.
This magnificent estate is set against the backdrop of the château, a 19th-century Renaissance-style residence overlooking the Sèvre Niortaise.

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