Crédit : ©Médiathèque du Parc naturel régional du Marais poitevin

The Marais Poitevin by bike

A unique destination to reconnect with nature. Discover by bike a vast and beautiful wilderness in the heart of an exceptional regional natural park.

Discover the Marais Poitevin

The Marais Poitevin is a natural region located in the west of France, at the crossroads of three departements: Vendée, Deux-Sèvres and Charente-Maritime. It is a unique territory where nature and man live in harmony.

The region is famous for its navigable canals that wind through lush vegetation. Calm and quiet waters that allow you to discover the natural park by boat or canoe after a few kilometers of cycling. The fauna and flora of the Poitevin Marsh are also remarkable and populated by a great variety of birds.

In addition to nature, the Marais Poitevin is also home to many small picturesque villages where you can discover the traditional architecture of the region. The houses are often built of stone and covered with red tiles, with wooden shutters painted in blue, green or red.

It is an ideal place to pedal, recharge your batteries and reconnect with nature.

Routes and bicycle paths

The Regional Natural Park of the Marais Poitevin is known for its pleasant nautical excursions along the hundreds of canals that make up the region. A regional territory characterized by relatively flat landscapes, also suitable for bike rides! Today, more than 850 kilometers of bicycle paths have been developed on this exceptional site. The routes are developed and secured on very small tarred roads and on “white roads” to make the discovery of the Poitevin Marsh by bike accessible to all.

The greenways of the Marais Poitevin crisscross the park and its three distinct natural areas: the wet marsh, also called The Green Venice thanks to its many canals, the green dry marsh with its wheat fields and the maritime marsh subject to the winds, tides and migrations of birds from around the world. So many possibilities for bike rides that allow you to leave as well on the tourist roads as on less frequented paths. You will find yourself in the wild calm of nature. There is nothing like it to get back to your roots.

The regional natural park also hosts two major international bicycle routes:

  • La Vélodyssée®, more than 80 km of cycling in the Marais Poitevin. From the Bay of Aiguillon to La Rochelle, two stages of this maritime cycle route allow you to discover the Maranse coast.
  • The Vélo Francette®, 90 km from Niort to La Rochelle. 4 stages to discover the Marais Poitevin, between land and sea, along flat and shady green paths.

The Weather

The Vendée enjoys an oceanic climate, which gives it a pleasant mildness all year round. A pleasant climate that allows you to vacation in the Marais Poitevin from May to October. The average temperature throughout the year is 17°C with a pleasant 24°C in the summer months.

In the summer, the mercury rises more easily in the interior, especially in the Poitevin Marsh, and you will appreciate relaxing by a river or enjoying a break in the shade along the canals. Remember to bring a hat, sunscreen and plenty of water.

In winter, like most of France, the region is colder and wetter. But nothing stops you from exploring the marshes with a good windbreaker and hat. The weather is relatively dry and if there is a storm or thunderstorm, it will not last long.

Good to know, you can leave your mosquito repellent at home! The Marais Poitevin has very little standing water and the number of the most important predators (birds and insects) means that mosquitoes cannot develop to any significant extent. Their presence is therefore very low in this area.

Places of interest

The Regional Natural Park of the Marais Poitevin is a veritable goldmine of natural and historical treasures. Here is a selection of activities, among the unmissable of the region, for your stay:

  • Niort: a legendary city with many historic buildings, it has a rich history of more than 9 centuries. The emblematic Donjon offers a magnificent view over the Marais Poitevin. Don’t miss the Halles market where you can taste local specialties.
  • St-Hilaire-La-Palud: from the Latin “palus” meaning “swamp”, the Paludéens preserve their ancestral know-how and traditions along the 100 km of waterways and paths that make up the capital of the Marais Sauvage.
  • The Green Venice: take a stroll to the rhythm of the canals, which pass by numerous villages and form a real aquatic labyrinth. The authenticity of this preserved nature guarantees you a change of scenery!
  • The Ornithological Park: Located in the heart of The Green Venice, this natural space of more than 8 hectares offers you the opportunity to admire in peace the 80 species of birds present in the Marais Poitevin. A real open-air museum.
  • The Departmental Biological Reserve: discover more than 1200 remarkable species of fauna and flora listed in the 146 hectares of this preserved natural area. A trail with picnic areas and observatories to immerse yourself in this typical environment of the region.
  • La Pointe d’Arçay: the pearl of the Vendéen coast offers you a variety of landscapes: forests, sandy and wooded dunes, beaches, salt marshes and mudflats. It is the main regional site for the migration and wintering of water birds.
  • Saint-Pierre de Maillezais Abbey: a majestic fortress founded at the end of the 10th century, Maillezais Abbey has been a religious center for centuries. Its remains make it the largest historical site in the Marais Poitevin.
  • La Maison de la Meunerie: representative site of regional craftsmanship, the site welcomes you to share its know-how from the production of flour to the making of bread. Take the opportunity to taste many regional and artisanal products.

Meet our local guide

At the beginning of your cycling vacation in the Marais Poitevin, you will meet Damien, our Abicyclette Voyages receptionist. He will have the pleasure of accompanying you during the first moments of your stay. He will make you benefit from his fine and passionate knowledge of the region. He will advise you on the most authentic addresses and the most remarkable sites.

With our years of collaboration, we can only advise you to go to Damien for a complementary service to your trip. Through his agency Original Vélo Tour, Damien offers guided bicycle tours accompanied by cultural visits, meetings with local producers and tastings of regional products. Quality services that will allow you to discover the Marais Poitevin a little better.