The iconic city of Niort. On the edge of the Poitevin marshlands, this medieval city has preserved some of its most incredible heritage, all part of its glorious history. The city of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Richard the Lionheart is close to the second largest wetland in France and lies in an area of extraordinary abundance, so there’s plenty to explore in Niort during a stay at the Hotel Saint-Martin.
There are the Poitevin marshlands, of course. A real must-see, these marshlands are a piece of history in their own right. Carved out by man from the 13th century onwards, these ancient marshlands have developed a global reputation. Home to unique flora and protected and rare fauna, you’ll find beavers, terns, kingfishers and otters there. Yellow irises and angelica grow on the banks and provide patches of color. On foot, on horseback or by bike: the marshlands can be explored however you want. If you’re looking for something more unusual this summer, try a guided tour in a canoe at night or a trip on an “apero boat” for an evening drink as you navigate this area known as “Green Venice”.
The history of the capital of Deux-Sèvres is also closely linked to that of Eleanor of Aquitaine and her warrior son, Richard the Lionheart. The medieval city is home to a castle which was built in the 12th century by King Henry II of England, Eleanor’s husband, and is sure to transport you back in time. Each century has left its mark on this ancient structure which has served as a military citadel, housing, a prison and a museum. Its north-facing terrace offers an incredible panoramic view of the old town.
The Château de Coudray-Salbart in Echiré is just a few kilometers away from Niort; built in the 13th century, this massive fortress has witnessed bloody battles between France and England and was a strategic site for crossing the Sèvre Niortaise river. Step back in time as you explore its history.
Back in the city, you’ll love Niort’s fantastic summer events. Stroll around the farmers’ market at the old dairy in Coulon on August 24 and 31 and enjoy concerts on Wednesday and Friday evenings in August, held in the Esplanade de la République near the city’s La Brèche gardens: endless fun! Niort Plage offers plenty of aquatic activities during the day too: paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking and pedalos.
Just 20 minutes from Niort, the Hotel Saint-Martin is the perfect place to enjoy the art of hospitality. Enjoy a walk around its tree-filled grounds, swim a few lengths in the pool or savor a gourmet dinner at Le Logis restaurant: life is good on the banks of the Sèvre Niortaise river!