Marais poitevin : a bike ride with the family
This 34-km bike loop starts in Arçais and is a complete immersion in the heart of the Marais. This is an easy course for children learning to ride a bike, in what is called here the ‘Flatlands’...
- 2 DAYS / 1 NIGHT
- Family trip
- Unusual night amongst animals
- An easy route, a cycle path without hills
DAY 1 Arçais,
The nonchalant one
After a night at the Arçais campsite, enjoy a boat ride or a hike to the chain boat in this lovely maraîchin village. Visit one of the many craftsmen to be found here.
Then, after lunch in one of the restaurants or at the open air café in Arçais, it’s time for a few pedal strokes.
You can either use your own bike, or go to the bike rentals in Arçais if you need to rent one.
So hop on your bike and ride, starting from the Church Square in Arçais.
The wash-house village
Then head toward Saint-Georges de Rex, a village in the Marais overlooking a small preserved marsh. The marsh in Saint-Georges-de-Rex and Amuré is distinctive in that it features two major ecosystems: 40 acres of ash tree patches to the west, and 125 acres of wet grasslands to the east. Washhouses here are predominant. They used to be the meeting place for village women to wash their sheets and share the latest news.
This small town is a pivot point between marsh and plain, and shows two different facets :
- on the one hand, the old common lands, a typical area with its straight canals
- on the other hand, the marais des Mottes, a dense network of canals and ditches, dotted with tiny islands.
Here a port was dug out of the limestone. Its access channel was used to approach the village dock.
If you want to give your bike a rest, consider stopping for a visit of the Marais poitevin donkey farm. Find out how soap is manufactured with donkey milk, go on a treasure hunt with the Térra Aventura app, hike with a donkey (or climb aboard the Escargoline, a cart for weary travellers drawn by your new four-legged companion), or pet the famous Baudets du Poitou at the Coq à l'Ane.
Some quaint accommodation awaits you : a yurt, a canvas prospector’s tent, or a chambre d'hôtes surrounded by animals, and a table d'hôtes serving great food.
DAYS 2 Amuré
And its two 60 million year old megaliths
Then head on to Amuré: following the Grande Rigole will take you to Port Goron.
The loosestrife plant emerges from a dense vegetation where hemp agrimony mingles with meadowsweet.
This route is dotted with elegant alignments of pollard ash.
Remember to look up to watch a heron taking off, or the flight of a hobby falcon or a black kite, two prevalent species in this area.
Did you know
The magical megaliths of Amuré
They are called the 'dolmens of Amuré’ and many legends were created around them, for no megalith was ever found in this part of Deux-Sèvres, and there is no way someone could have built them. According to one legend, any work completed one day would disappear the very next morning ! So, feeling discouraged, a mason threw his hammer as far as he could, saying: ‘Go find a place where we can work’. The hammer landed at the very place where the church was ultimately erected.
The boundary between Vendée and Deux-Sèvres
The route continues for 6 kilometers toward Sainte-Sabine. This is the only area with a steep relief where you go downhill.
Continue to the village de la Sèvre to admire the steel bridge over the Sèvre Niortaise connecting the Deux-Sèvres and Vendée.
The return to Arçais is on calm paths, suitable for a family ride.
PLAN YOUR STAY
Our suggestions for accommodation, visits, sites of interest to prepare for this ride.