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Marais Poitevin - Poitou marshes - Coulon

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Bernezac.com - France, Atlantic Coast, the Marais Poitevin (the Marsh of Poitou), Coulon

You are here: Home > To see > le Marais Poitevin > Coulon

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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 houses.

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 parks.

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 Tardy.

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 some liqueurs.

The most famous confectionery is the crystallised angelica.

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" was collected 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 Sèvre Niortaise.

Please, try the duo eels-frogs!

 

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