DAY 247 (Le Marais de Briere)

Yes! You read correctly Briere NOT Biere!! Although a cool one wouldn’t have gone a miss!! Marais means Marshland.

This is the Parc Naturel Regional de Briere (no translation needed there!) What an amazing place it covers nearly 500 km2 (square) Sorry I couldn’t find the symbol!!

It is a vast marshland that has over 150 km of canals that have been dug out whilst digging for Peat, (this is the area they call the ‘black land’) it is truly beautiful, no cars, no people apart from people on the barques (flat-bottomed boats) they have to be flat-bottomed as the water is only about 1.50m deep. It is quiet beyond any quietness I’ve ever experienced. The day we visited was absolutely boiling, and in our barque were us four plus another couple, it was lovely – the guide punted the barque out to the middle of a lagoon and there stopped and said, ‘There, just listen’ and we sat, nothing apart from the occasional rustle of reeds, until the woman behind me dived for her handbag, her mobile was ringing…she was mortified, it was actually really funny and I did feel for her…so glad it wasn’t me!

This place is a haven for wildlife but the geese seem to have realised that the tourists are an easy touch!
As soon as a boat comes by they all waddle along and then throw themselves into the water on the off-chance that someone will throw them a crust…this one was a little too hasty and landed on his chin!!
The guide was wonderful and pointed out all sorts of birds that are special to this area…although I’m afraid the names of them escape me…this one was pretty impressive with it’s strange hook beak…
Some people prefer to hire boats and make their own way around the canals although we were informed that it has happened that people have got terribly lost and there was one story of a couple who got totally lost and had to spend the night in the boat, as beautiful as it was I would’ve been terrified!
This couple had me in hysterics, just look at this, hubby at the front enjoying the view and wifey at the back doing all the hard work….what a giggle!!
The reeds of the area are harvested for thatching hence the reason for the featured picture at the top of this post.

All in all it’s an amazing place and it’s so good to know that places like this exist and that they are protected and will continue to thrive…it was idyllic and I’m really pleased that we took the time out to do something a little different and as my brother-in-law kindly remarked, we may not have come back from it any less stupid but came back knowing something new…he has a way with words that one!!!
If you would like to know more about this place…check it out on google or even better have a look at the size of it on googleearth….it’s huge!!


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