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Sansais-La Garette : The ride of the Marais Poitevin

Ride through the Marais Poitevin and discover the little village of Sansais!




Nature (faune, flore)

Between the plains and the marshes, come and meet the market gardeners, admire their unique heritage and the technical nature of their work, in the heart of a generous natural environment. Along the way, you'll have a front-row seat to contemplate the pharaonic work of shaping the wet marsh. It's a story of man and nature that goes back centuries and continues to this day.

Have a good walk and remember that you are not alone on the paths you are going to take. We invite you to respect nature: avoid picking flowers and plants, do not leave any rubbish behind, respect inhabited areas, stay on the paths, keep dogs on a leash.

Sansais-La Garette : The ride of the Marais Poitevin

Distance : 25.0 km

Step 1: La Maison du Cheval

Set in the heart of the Marais Poitevin nature reserve, this large complex is one of the region's leading sites for horse lovers. This is where you'll start your tour.

Step 2: Sansais

The commune comprises two villages that have been inhabited since prehistoric times: Sansais, perched on a hedged hillside, and La Garette, clinging to the side of a hillock (a 31 m high mound) in the heart of the Marais Poitevin. Henri III of Navarre, the future King Henri IV, during a stay in Mursay in 1576, hunted and fished at La Garette. The commune of Sansais - La Garette has been part of the Marais Poitevin listed site since 2003.

Step 3: Église Saint-Vincent

The first church was built near the old castle, between the end of the 11th century and the second half of the 12th century, on the site of a Merovingian sanctuary, itself built on the remains of a Gallo-Roman temple (discovery of four female heads in the round, their faces buried in the Romanesque walls as if to forget the memory of a monument dedicated to pagan divinities. The faces can now be seen in the masonry of the sacristy).
It was burnt down during the Hundred Years' War (English coins were unearthed in its ruins in the 19th century), then by the Wars of Religion. In 1879, it was demolished (the bones of the parish priest Jean Guyotière, buried in 1672, were discovered in the choir). Rebuilt by the Niort architect Bergeron, it was opened for worship in 1880.

Step 4: Amuré

Amuré has been celebrating nature since 1996. Every year, at the end of November, it organises the Fête du Frêne têtard. One of its deciduous trees is listed as a remarkable tree in the Deux-Sèvres region. In 2001, the French Ministry of Sustainable Development and Town and Country Planning awarded the commune a prize for its commitment to enhancing the landscape by planting thousands of pollarded ash trees and hedgerows, clearing ditches and ditches and installing tourist information signs. This commitment to environmental excellence also extends to eco-housing, as demonstrated by the 3-star Bébé confort-accredited communal gîte in a former wet marsh house, with its period furniture and wood-chip boiler.

Step 5: Église Notre-Dame

Dating from the 12th and 13th centuries, the building was partly rebuilt in the 19th century and restored in 2005. It houses an exhibition of photographs recalling village life in days gone by. Its ancient cemetery contains sarcophagus-shaped tombs from the 18th and 19th centuries and a 15th-century hosannière cross, listed in 1889.

Step 6: Port Goron

Isolated from the village of Amuré, this natural harbour has a gently sloping slipway made of limestone. Built to facilitate trade with Saint-Georges-de-Rex, La Garette, Le Vanneau, Coulon and Niort, it provides outlets for local produce (firewood, hemp, market garden produce and fish).
During the 19th century, its activity declined due to the construction of roads in the marshland. In 1995, it was restored as part of the French President's Great Works programme.

Step 7: Rigole d'Amuré

The channels have different names, depending on their (increasing) importance:
- the ditch (less than 4 m wide),
- the conche, the étier, the lock, the rope (4 to 8 m wide),
- the reach, the water route, the barrow, the gonnelle, the belt, the longée, the gully (from 5 to 20 m wide),
- the canal, the achenal, the counter-bottom (over 15 m wide).
The gully is a track that is larger than the conch, which is itself larger than the ditch.

Step 8: Le Marais de tourbière

The peat bogs are part of the wet marshes, as are the bocage marshes, the communaux, the terrées and the trous de bri. This is what makes for the diversity and uniqueness of the market garden landscapes.

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