Exploring The Green Venice – The Marais Poitevin

1 hour outside of the beautiful city of Rochelle, you can find The Marais Poitevin, an area known as the Green Venice. The Marais Poitevin is an area of marsh and is the largest marsh on the Atlantic coast and the second largest in France. Here you endless narrow canals that were created to navigate the area.

The Green Venice - The Marais Poitevin

When visiting The Marais Poitevin you can use traditional flat-bottomed boats, explore the wet swamp. The flat bottom boats operate by punting, where the punt (large pole) is used to push against the river bed to propel the boat forward. While a gondola is different structurally and uses an oar and not a pole, the similarities between the traditional gondolas in Venice and the flatboats in the Marais Poitevin is how the area began being referred to as the Green Venice.

The Green Venice - The Marais Poitevin

When exploring the area you can rent a flat-bottom boat and either hire someone to operate the boat for you, or you can try punting for yourself.

The Green Venice - The Marais Poitevin

The peaceful Marais Poitevin is the perfect place to go for a boat ride and birdwatching. While exploring the green canals that are lined with trees I came across plenty of birds including beautiful herons.

The Green Venice - The Marais Poitevin

The Green Venice - The Marais Poitevin

Related: You Need To See La Rochelle Aquarium

The Green Venice - The Marais Poitevin

One fun activity I did while doing a tour of the area is discovered how to make fire on the swamp. Using my punt I was able to smash down on the leaves under the water to release Butane gas which caused small bubbles on the top of the water. Then using a lighter, I was able to ignite the gas to create some pretty spectacular flames. When you visit, I certainly recommend asking the tour guide if they can do this activity with you as it was fun to try.

The Green Venice - The Marais Poitevin