The department of the Deux-Sèvres is part of the Poitou-Charentes
region in western France and is the perfect place to unwind and
In the Deux-Sèvres, a land with a highly strategic past
and steeped in history, the unspoilt landscapes shelter an outstanding
heritage: some of Europe’s most imposing Tumuli, Romanesque
churches, châteaux, museums. From the greens of the marsh
to the walls of Parthenay, the Deux-Sèvres has many stories
to tell, from the pyramids built in the Neolithic period to the
tagging trends of the Middle Ages, not to mention the powerful
cities that blossomed well before the Renaissance. Along these
paths, astonishment is at every turn!
Quiet roads will lead you to unexpected places; rivers,
lakes, forests, historic towns, small villages with
colourful markets and, during the summer months, a range of festivals
and events. There is also a biodiversity of flora and fauna here
which is carefully preserved to keep the area unique.
Known as one of France’s ‘Best Kept Secrets’ the
Deux-Sèvres is the tranquil, laid-back, unspoilt department
of the Poitou-Charentes, the second sunniest region in France.
It is filled with lazy winding rivers, and is a region truly dedicated
to relaxing, restful holidays in superb accommodation.
There are a thousand ways to live
Great outdoors and indoor activities
Deux-Sèvres is ideal for outdoors activities, rambling
and cycling. For example and amongst others, 100 walking itineraries
(“fiches rando en Deux-Sèvres”) are available
from tourist information centres all over the department, a new
cycle path, following the river Thouet from the very north of the
department to Parthenay is now open (In a few years time, you will
be able to cycle from Saumur to the Marais
Poitevin (About 200
kms)) and recently, an old railway track has been turned into a
cycle path from Parthenay to Bressuire.
Marais Poitevin or "Green Venice" is a large nature
reserve and is home to a great variety of birds and animals. With
its cultivated plains, forests and hundreds of canals and waterways,
Poitevin truly deserves the name of Green Venice. In
the majestic silence, the only sounds you’ll hear come from
birds, cows guarding the islands and oars slicing through the duckweeds.
Let yourself glide on the water, watch your thoughts fly away...
Marais Poitevin is also an ideal place for walking, cycling,
There are lots of other things to do and see in Deux-Sèvres,
horseback riding, swimming, boating, hot-air ballooning, across
a monkey bridge or along a via ferrata, with a golf club, a tennis
racket or a fishing pole.
For more in formation please check
the “what to do” on the Comité Departmental
de Tourisme des Deux-Sèvres web site.
Art cities in Deux-Sèvres and places to
Throughout Deux-Sèvres the traditional architecture remains
well preserved and makes this department an ideal destination for
those who wish to combine the pleasures of green tourism with the
exploration of cultural heritage.
Parthenay, Thouars and Melle have the label of “Villes et
Pays d’Art et d’Histoire” (Towns and/or areas
of artistic, architectural and historic Interest). Melle and St
Loup-sur-Thouet have the label “Petites Cités de Caractère” (small
town of character) and quite a few have been classed as qualifying
for the label and are well ahead in the classification process
: Coulon, Arçais, Celles-sur-Belle, La Mothe St Héray,
Augé, Airvault, Oiron, Mauléon, Argenton-les-Vallées.
This label implies, amongst other criteria, a first-rate architectural,
environmental and cultural heritage including at least one registered
or listed monument or sites and one well-preserved, homogeneous
collection of old buildings.
more information please click on “what
to visit” on the tourist association's website.
A land of festivals, events and festivities
Visiting the Deux-Sèvres, you will have the opportunity
a land of festivals.
Events and festivities are happening throughout the
year - click
here for more details.
Tales and legends
Many tales and legends lie hidden away beneath the stones...Looking
for a story ? Red arms in the Marais, the giant Gargantua tumbling
down near Thouars, a Dragon in Niort, a rock denouncing adulteresses
in the Gâtine... Look no further, Deux-Sèvres is just
the place for tales and legends.
A land of flavour
Being an area devoted to farming, the markets in Deux-Sèvres
are full of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and cheese. The list
of main markets can be checked on the Comité Départemental
de Tourisme des Deux-Sèvres web site.
is the major producer of goats cheese in France and is readily
available from ‘the farm’ as well as markets
Take a chance to discover the wine heritage by walking or driving
along the Road of the Vineyards !
Landscapes, flavours, techniques...vine stocks and wine bottles
are an integral part of this region’s heritage The appellations
Anjou and Saumur also apply to the vineyards of Northern Deux-Sèvres.
of great recipes from the past is available by
clicking here (Please note that the English version of the CDT web site is
going to be updated).
Whatever type of holiday you are looking for, you
are sure to find it in and around the
If you wish to have more information about the
department of Deux-Sèvres, please visit our website http://www.tourisme-deux-sevres.com
Crédit photos : Philippe WALL Conseil Général
des Deux-Sèvres et Joe STROBEL
To discover more about this region, we recommend
these books which are all available in English from Amazon.