When we talk about the Poitevin Marshes, an image immediately comes to mind, that of the traditional and famous boat trip. These flat-bottomed boats the water, thus sinking into this unique environment. green labyrinth also known as the Green Venice. This is the way to discover the intimacy of this natural environment labelled Grand Site de France and Marais Poitevin Regional Nature Park.
Embark on a unique experience
If you are looking for both a unique and relaxing experience, the boat trip through the winding channels is an activity not to be missed. Whether you are visiting for a weekend or a week, whether you have been here before or live in the area, as a family, couple, friend or alone, the boat trip is to be enjoyed without moderation!
When you board the these plates you will suddenly feel like privileged. Enter this green lung, the discovery of its intimacy, offering you a breathtaking views of the natural and unspoilt landscape. Open your eyes and admire the majestic pollarded ashes at the water's edge, listen to the song of the kingfisher and the lapping of coypu that swim. Wildlife and flora are on hand to awaken all your senses.
With a boatman guide, for a guided tour
For a successful boat trip, nothing better than opt for the services of a boat guide. The boat guides are passionate experts and qualified who know every corner of the Poitevin Marshes and who will share with you fascinating information on history, culture, traditions and wildlife of this mysterious territory.
With their know-how and their experience, the boat guides will take you through the winding canals of the Green Venice for vous faire découvrir les coins les plus remarquables and sometimes unusual, such as picturesque villages, locks, bridges... You will have nothing to do but enjoy the scenery and the story that this enthusiast will tell you, comfortably seated on your boat. Generally, The walks last between 1 hour and 2.5 hours.
Since the Poitevin Marshes is a land of traditions, some guides have retained the pig to move the boats forward. Funny word, isn't it? The pigouille is a large wooden stick which was used at the time to move the boats before oars and paddles appeared. For a experience more authentic and immersive, some landing stages wished to keep this method, thus making this even more unique. You will notice the disconcerting ease with which the boatman steers the boat, don't hesitate to ask him to try, you will see that it's an art.
Find a pier for your guided tour:
The magic trick of fire on water
In the boat trip with a boatman guide, the latter will be transformed into a magician for a few moments. Why? Because they will put, before your eyes, fire on water. Yes, you read that right, the water will catch fire and it's an unbelievable spectacle. This demonstration unusual has become a tradition on every boat trip.
The secret of this magic trick is a completely natural process. In the autumn season, leaves from the trees fall into the canals and pile up on the bottom of the water. With the constant movement of the water, a layer of silt leaves are then covered with decomposing leaves, releasing carbon dioxide. These are pockets of methane that form in the shallow waters of the Poitevin Marshes. By making energetic movements with the help of the pigouille and/or oars, the boatman will then pierce this gas pocket which will rise. At the moment when the bubble bursts on the surface, the boatman operates a lighter on the water and that is how the water catches fire. Unbelievable, isn't it?
Without a guide, for a walk in complete autonomy
You do not have to choose a guide to carry out your boat trip. You can rent your boat and to go out on your own to discover this labyrinth with the help of plans that the pier will give you.
Several routes will be offered depending on the duration that you wish to perform. The boat trip in autonomy it is a moment of conviviality guaranteed! You'll see, it's not so easy to go straight despite these calm waters. Your arms will be put to the test because don't forget... you do the paddling! Children can also be involved, don't forget to ask before you leave trains adapted to their size.
Please note that you will be provided with all the necessary items before your departure, including life jackets, a canister for your personal belongings and maps with the names of the canals and conches.
For the sporty, try canoeing and kayaking
This is a good option for sport and nature lovers. The advantage of canoeing is its size. Light, fast, easy to transport and manoeuvre but above all less imposing than a traditional boat, it will then be able to lead you more easily through the twists and turns of the Poitevin Marshes. It is a wilder nature that will be offered to you, allowing you to go deeper into the in the depths of this unspoilt nature.
Do you have your equipment?
Do you have your own equipment? You should know that there are numerous slipways throughout the Marais Poitevin. Don't hesitate to ask for the list at the Tourist Office.
For people with disabilities
There are several piers accessible to people with disabilities in the Niort - Marais Poitevin area to enable everyone, without exception, to enjoy traditional boat trips and discover the wonders of the Green Venice. These piers are equipped with access ramps, adapted pontoons and boats specially designed to accommodate wheelchairs.
It is advisable to contact the landing stages in advance of your boat trip in order to organise your trip in the best possible way, informing you of any specific accessibility requirements. In this way, the necessary facilities and services can be put in place to ensure a pleasant and suitable boating experience for everyone.