I've just come home from a day out that I HAVE to tell you about. I forgot to mention it in my last post, but Rob has been staying with me since last Thursday, and is here until next Tuesday, so we've been doing a bit of touristy stuff together seeing as I have my 2 week holiday from work. So today we went to a village called Coulon, and it is a place I really recommend.
Coulon is just to the west of Niort, and is the capital of the "Venise Verte" (Green Venice) which is part of the Marais Poitevin, a large marshland that stretches west from Niort to the Atlantic coast. On the map below, the green and yellow bits are the Marais Poitevin:
This week's weather has been absolutely glorious - I have not seen a cloud in the sky since last Friday, and so this seemed like a good opportunity to go and venture to this part of the region. Rob and I originally tried to go on Monday, but sue to the supposedly correct bus not turning up for us in Niort, we had to change plans. We then found out you have to RESERVE THE BUS that goes to Coulon. What is this madness?? Anyway, conforming to French craziness that still suprises me from time to time, I phoned up the bus company this morning, telling them which stop I wanted to get on at, which stop I wanted to get off at, and which time I wanted, along with my name, my address, my phone number, and my date of birth. I have no idea what I've signed up to. In any case, we arrived in Coulon at lunch time, found a boulangerie, got a fresh baguette, and had a mini picnic in the square in the town centre in the beautiful sunshine. All the buildings and paving are in clean, bright cream stone, so it was so so pretty!
But the gem of the town/village is the part on the Sèvre niortaise river. With coloured shutters on the cute buildings on the quay, little wooden boats lining the edge of the water, and willow trees blowing in the breeze, Coulon is postcard perfect. Rob and I took a stroll along the banks, and with the bright sun glistening on the water, it couldn't have looked lovelier. On a crisp February day like today the town was very tranquil and quiet, but we could both see how it could be heaving in high-season. There are obviously many companies from which you can rent out a boat for a few hours, and there are quite a few restaurants there considering its modest size, so perhaps Coulon isn't so quaint in the summer, but it's somewhere I'd definitely come back to and would recommend to others.
So, if you're ever in mid-West France and fancy going for a stroll somewhere, go to Coulon!