Coulon, Marais Poitevin,
"Capital" of the Green Venice
On arriving at Coulon by the D1 coming from the South, either
from Garette or from Magné, on the left bank of the river Sèvre
Niortaise, one suddenly arrives on the bridge to discover on the
left the view of the Sèvre Niortaise with quays, boats and
Don't forget to go back and walk on the bridge to take
advantage of a more leisurely view of this spectacle.
The Town Centre
For the moment, continue in the direction towards the town
centre and follow the sign posts which direct you to the car
The car parks are very close to the town centre and to the quay
Louis Tardy. The distances are short and are within walking
distance.In our opinion, there's no route to be recommended.
Just walk and look around, one will always arrive at the
important landmarks, la Maison des Marais Mouillés, la place de
l'Eglise (Church Square), la rue de l'Eglise which leads from la place de l'Eglise to the quay Louis
The "Maison des Marais Mouillés"
The "Maison des Marais Mouillés" is built on the edge of the river
Sèvre in the ancient residence of the tax collectors. The tax
for the right of way on the river was used for the maintenance
and upkeep of the river.
This house was known as "Maison de la Coutume", "(Tax House)".
Nowadays it contains a record of the history and the life of the
marsh, displayed in its various rooms.
You can taste the famous crystallised Angélique of Niort here.
This plant does not like dry soil and prefers the marsh where it
grows wild and it is cultivated in the wet fields in the
municipalities of the Marais Poitevin.
It can reach two metres high. The young stalks are harvested in
the summer and are used in the manufacture of confectionery and
The most famous confectionery is the crystallised
The entrance to the museum is on la place de La Coutume which
looks onto the quay.
The facade of the building, town centre side, is original with
its Renaissance style and its pigeon house.
A panel of information explains the origin of the "Coutume" and
recalls the role played by the port of Coulon.
One can indeed read on it:
"On the borders of three provinces, Poitou, Aunis and
Saintonge, the port of Coulon was one of the most significant of
the bassin of the Sèvre Niortaise.
In 1840, this important station of canal transport between Niort
and Marans registered the passage of 2 668 boats transporting
wood, tiles, grain, feed, coal, wine, …
Under the Ancient Régime, a right of navigation, the "Coutume"
was collected to finance the working costs on the canals.
So, the "Grande Coutume de Sèvres" was established in the 14th
Century, in addition to the tax of quay, the "rivage"
in each of the numerous small ports of the various villages."
In the centre of the town, the church, Romanesque style
originally, was reshaped with a portal in Gothic style.
On the right-hand side, the tower has an unusual feature that
is an external pulpit from which to preach outside.
The church square and the neighbouring lanes are very busy
during the season.
It is also the point of departure of "Pibalou", the small train
that offers an original tour of discovery which follows tracks
along the canals.
Lunch or dinner time
If it's time for lunch or dinner, numerous restaurants wait for
you to taste their culinary specialities, such as eels, frogs,
lumas (snails in Poitou, and called cagouilles in the Charente),
mogettes (haricot beans from the marsh), …
and if you've no
psychological block, try the pâtés of ragondins, the taste of
which I was told, is very close to that of the hare.
"La Pigouille" will welcome you to its inn on the banks of the
Please, try the duo eels-frogs!