Coulon, tourist village in the Marais Poitevin

The large marshland Marais Poitevin lies west of Niort, on the Atlantic coast of France. The most beautiful part is called La Venise Verte, the Green Venice. It is one of the largest nature reserves in France and worth a visit during your holiday. Coulon is the most touristic village in the area, although other villages in the vicinity of Coulon are also worth a visit. Coulon is one of the "plus beaux villages" of France and rightly so: It is a beautiful village surrounded by stunning nature. The village has souvenir shops, boutiques, restaurants, boat rentals, canoes and bicycles, the "Maison du Marais Poitevin", a train and a church. If you want to explore the surroundings and the Marais Poitevin, it is best to do so by boat, with or without a guide.

The city of Coulon by the Sèvre Niortaise

Everything used to be transported by water. The most important river in this area is the Sèvre Niortaise. It runs from the city of Niort to the Atlantic Ocean. Coulon is located on this river. The village played an important role for a long time because of its position as a transport link on the river. In the past, even part of the Sèvre Niortaise ran through the streets of the village, such as rue du Château-Bas and Place de la Péchoire. In the 19th century, these canals were filled up so that no more water would run through the streets. Salt in particular was an important commodity. This role of transportation became less and less important when railway lines were built in the region.

Place de la Coutume

There is a large square by the quay of the Sèvre Niortaise called the Place de la Coutume. This square used to be where taxes were levied for the transport of goods on the Sèvre Niortaise. The locks and the waterways were maintained using these funds. These days the customs office is a museum called the Maison du Marais Poitevin. The museum provides information about the Marais Poitevin. The Office du Tourisme is also located on this square. There are loads of houses with colorful shutters on this square. You can see colorful shutters everywhere in Coulon, including along the Sèvre. The most famous house has blue shutters and is by the water. This is a typical house of the Marais Poitevin. It is whitewashed and 2 floors high.

Landmarks in Coulon

  • The narrow alleys of Coulon
  • Eglise Sainte de la Trinité
  • The 19th century quay "Quai Louis Tardy"
  • Cannery Saveurs du Marais
  • The house with the blue shutters
  • The lock of Sotterie

Maison du Marais Poitevin

Coulon, the capital of Green Venice, is home to the Maison du Marais Poitevin. This museum provides information about the Marais Poitevin, about the history, the landscapes, the inhabitants, the traditions and the preservation and protection of this area. La Maison du Marais Poitevin has three permanent exhibition rooms:

  • The maraîchin interior – In this room you can see the interior of a maraîchin house from the 19th century.
  • The eel room – eel as a food is central in this area.
  • The ship's space – Special flat ships sail in the Marais Poitevin. You can see them here and you are also shown how they were made.

Marais Poitevin

The marshland around Coulon is beautiful. It is best to visit the Marais Poitevin by boat. Canals and ditches with overhanging trees and shrubs make it look like you are sailing through green covered avenues. You can rent a boat yourself or sail through the canals with a guide.

Explore Marais Poitevin

  • Go by boat / canoe
  • go hiking
  • go cycling
  • take a train
  • Hot-air balloon
Coulon 8 Frankrijk Marais Poitevin natuurpark Charente vakantie Niort.jpg

Église de la Sainte-Trinité

The Church of the Holy Trinity is located near the Maison du Marais Poitevin. It was founded in 830 by a few monks from the abbey of Charroux. In the centuries that followed, the church was often looted by the Normans, after which it was rebuilt in the 11th century. Even in the centuries that followed, the church was often partly destroyed but still rebuilt time after time. Since 1929, the church has been listed as a monument. This church has a peculiarity: it has a "false preacher" on the outside of the church in the form of a canopy.

Markets and festival in Coulon

Throughout the year there are markets and festivals in Coulon:

  • Every week there is a market on Friday and Sunday.
  • Every month there is a flea market
  • In May the Whodunit Festival is held
  • In June there is a craft market
  • The night rally with the canoe through the marshes is also in June
  • In July and August there are several music performances
  • In July you can enjoy the large Fête du Miget

Fête du Miget

Every year the Fête du Miget is  celebrated in Coulon. It has free entry and always attracts many tourists. This festival is held on the quays of the Sèvre Niortaise and shows how the locals lived life 100 years ago. There are exhibitors who show objects which were part of the tradition and folklore. A large portion of the population also wears the clothes that were worn 100 years ago. They show what the market life used to be like, living in the houses, education, washing the clothes, a wedding, demonstration of old agricultural machinery and cars. Great for a day out in your holiday.

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