Nature activities in Poitou-Charentes

  • Recreational beach fisheries - Ile de Ré

    © ATOUT FRANCE/Catherine Bilbollet

    Recreational beach fisheries - Ile de Ré

    © ATOUT FRANCE/Catherine Bilbollet

  • Randonnée pédestre

    © ATOUT FRANCE/Pascal Griboval

    Randonnée pédestre

    © ATOUT FRANCE/Pascal Griboval

  • Marais Poitevin in Coulon

    © ATOUT FRANCE/Franck Charel

    Marais Poitevin in Coulon

    © ATOUT FRANCE/Franck Charel

Nature activities in Poitou-Charentes 86000 Poitiers fr

From the green valleys of the Vienne and Charente rivers to the Marais Poitevin, to the regions of Cognac and Saintonge, to the "big" ocean islands (île de Ré, île d’Oléron), to the shores of La Rochelle and Royan, nature is absolutely everywhere in Poitou-Charentes. There are endless possibilities for outdoor activities to enjoy.

Hiking

Romanesque art is very conducive to hiking, in Saintonge for example, with a loop of 64 km of PR (easy hiking) trails (around Pons) or near Melle, a listed village nestling on a plateau, near Niort. The Melle triad comprises three 11th-12th century Romanesque churches. These hiking trails marked out for "Romanesque heritage" often take over from the GR 655 which follows the path of the Via Turonensis on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Several sites in Poitou-Charentes are listed by UNESCO.

Cyclotourism

Cycling is very popular here, thanks to an attractive network of small roads and cycle paths. Elsewhere in the region, you will find ten or so mountain bike sites (with FFC approval), near the lakes of Haute-Charente and Chambon (on the border with Périgord). Several "green" routes are being built, including the Galopine in the Saintonge region, and the vallée du Thouet (to the north of Parthenay), which provide 120km of easy cycle paths. Of course, the île de Ré and île d'Oléron are also excellent for cycling, as they are relatively flat.

Navigable waterways

 The Sèvre Niortaise and the Mignon and Autize canals provide 100km of navigable waterways, but the Charente, a coastal river, is really perfect for river cruises, between Angoulême, Saint-Sireuil and Rochefort. A boat is also the best means of transport to explore the Marais Poitevin (the Poitou marshlands), especially at Coulon, a sort of capital of "green Venice".

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