Coulon, Le Marais Poitevin, Nouvelle-Aquitaine

We came to Coulon to visit the wet marshes of the Marais Poitevin, a nature reserve also known as the Green Venice. It’s a network of ditches, canals and channels.

On our bikes today as it’s either cycle, walk or boats to get around here. T has been to tourist info and bought a cycle route map. One of the key paths into the wider area is closed so we decide to cycle to Magné along the canal. It’s absolutely scorching again here, far too hot for cycling but we take plenty of mostly tepid water with us.

Once out of Coulon which is rammed with people having lunch we cycle along the waterways. It’s quiet and green and looks like a canal with the occasional lock.

At one point there’s a chain ferry boat, just like in A Knights Tale, but a little smaller. T has a go obviously! It makes a lot of noise.

In Magné we cross the bridge and are happy to find an open bar. Order a couple of pressions but mine is horrible Grimbergen so T gets an extra beer and I enjoy an Oragina.

After stellar map reading by T, or should I call him Henry (the navigator), we take a different route back. This is more like what we were expecting as the waterways are criss crossing all over and there’s lots of  huge trees. Makes me think of Florida.

Back in Coulon we cross the bridge to get to the village and book a restaurant canalside for dinner. A beer in a bar opposite the church and again pression beer is delivered and found wanting, by me at least. It’s looks like weak tea and tastes horrible. T again has a pint and a half plus a taste of a local Coulon pression brought to him by the owner. That one looks more like liquid toffee, is hoppy and not as nice as the tea, reportedly.

Back to the van to sit outside and sweat. The temps are ridiculous and there’s no escape. A shower is welcome and we get ready and leave to walk into Coulon for dinner at 8pm, still sweating. I had to use my hairdryer outside the van to dry my fringe.

We land at the restaurant a little early and it’s packed. All the terrace seats are taken. I speak to the waitress I booked with earlier and agree we’ll come back in twenty minutes and she’ll have a table sorted. We find a bar off the canal that serves 1664 and enjoy a cold swift pint before returning. Heavenly!

A front row seat, canalside, is our table when we return, so no complaints here.

We enjoy an excellent three course meal for €22 and enjoy the decrease in temp as the sun goes down almost as much. The food is lovely, well presented and unusual to us. There are people patiently waiting for a table all the time we are there but I suppose it is the height of the season.

Back to the van and a couple of beers outside before trying to sleep……oh for air conditioning!

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