The Marais breton
The Vendée Marais Breton covers 45,000 hectares of canals, wet meadows and polders unique in France. There you will see the ditches which drain the marsh and the canals which join the salty marshland to the sea. There are four ports with berths aground, one of which is Port du Bec, a listed site, also know as the "Chinese port" because of its wooden jetties which look like bamboo structures.
Floating between land and sea, Bouin is now connected to the mainland after having been an island in the Bay of Bourgneuf for a long time, as was the case for the former islands of Saint Gervais, Saint Urbain and Sallertaine. Ditches, dykes, drainage canals and former salt works define the landscape and provide a home for a wide variety of fauna (otters, genets, beavers, eels, frogs, birds: raptors, shorebirds, waders and ducks).
In the sheltered waters of the bay, in-shore fishing and oyster farming are important industries in the small communities of Bouin and Beauvoir sur Mer. Visit the oyster huts in Port du Bec and try some Vendée Atlantique oysters.
Nearby you will see one of the largest wind farms in France. The elegance of these colossal machines may surprise you as you watch their long white sails turning high above the marshland.
Explore this picturesque area on foot on the GR8 or by bike on the local cycle paths.
Places to visit
>> Daviaud, Marais Vendéen Ecomuseum in Barre de Monts
>> The Bourrine à Rosalie in Sallertaine
>> The Bourrine du Bois Juquaud in Saint Hilaire de Riez (closed in 2020 for renovation work)
>> Kulmino, spectacular panoramic views in Notre Dame de Monts
A 'bourrine' is a typical Marais Breton cottage! A reminder of what marshland life was like during the early part of the 20th century. The cottages were low to protect them from the wind and were thatched with reeds.