Photographer's Note

April 6th, 2011
Maillezais 850133 85420
Vendée Pays-de-la-Loire
46.373 -0.738 10 m

The haughty ruins, Maillezais

One view. The chateau 19th century, on the same site.
Other view. The chateau 19th century, on the same site.

Ramparts and bartizan testify of the tempestuous past of the abbey SAINT-PIERRE DE MAILLEZAIS 11th 12th 13th 14 centuries. The site is registered on historic monuments since 1924.
A small castle was built in the 19th century, on the site, with a part of ramparts.

"Insula Malleacensis", island of the Gulf of Pictons which gave birth in MARAIS POITEVIN, became Maillezais in the 11th century, situated in the heart of the wet marsh from Poitou, called also "Venise verte", green Venice.
A first monastery was built, the "Saint-Pierre le Vieux" monastery, then the second at the beginning of the 11th century: the benedictine abbey Saint-Pierre de Maillezais, set up as bishop's palace in 1317 by the Pape, up to its transfer to the bishop's palace in La Rochelle in 1666.

FRANÇOIS RABELAIS, been born in 1483 or 1494 near Chinon in Touraine, died in 1553, was a monk franciscan moralizer from 1520 to Fontenay-le-Comte, in Vendée, then in 1524 monk Benedictine and secretary of Father Abbot until 1526 to Maillezais. During these spent in the marsh from Poitou, Rabelais became learned the customs and language of the inhabitants, from whom he will write his works. He left the monastic dress in 1528.

_ The MARAIS POITEVIN, Gulf of Poitou, gulf of Pictons that the sea occupied 8000 years ago, extends over the plains of Vendée in the North, the plain from Niort to Deux-Sèvres in the East and the plain of Aunis in Charente-Maritime in the South. The 95000 hectares of the marsh from Poitou, were built by sea currents and alluviums brought by rivers, of which SÈVRE NIORTAISE. Since the Neolithic, the resources were exploited there. The salt, the fishing, the breeding were developed until period Gallo Romaine there. In the Middle Ages began big works of drying out and development at instigation of benedictine abbeys, as the Maillezais abbey or the Saint-Maixent abbey, or still the Nieul-sur-l'Autise abbey. They continued in particular under king Henri IV in the 17th century, and in the 19th century. It was necessary and it is still necessary, to contain the effects of the sea and to evacuate the run off water of a marsh often below open seas. All in all thousands of kilometers of channels of any sizes, channels, ditches, conches, were dug.

_ The SÈVRE NIORTAISE is a coastal river, which takes its spring in the municipality of Sepvret in the department of Deux-Sèvres, near the hamlet of Grandes-Fontaines, in 152 meters in height. It crosses Niort, then comes down in the MARSH FROM POITOU which it feeds, before throwing itself into the Atlantic Ocean in l'anse de l'Aiguillon, after a course of 158,1 km and the crossing of a pond overturning of 3650 km², with an average debit of 44,4 m³/s. The Sèvre Niortaise and the Sèvre Nantaise, gave their name to the department of Deux-Sèvres. Sèvre-Niortaise river description.

Swamps divide into two, the marais desséché, dried out swamp, of 47 000 hectares, the marais mouillé, wet swamp, known as "Venise verte, green Venice of 29 000 hectares. It is necessary to add 19000 hectares partially désséchés.
The pressure of the agriculture and the catastrophic and global change of climate, lead an existence difficult for the swamp.

MAILLEZAIS is a French municipality, placed in the department of Vendée of the region Pays de la Loire, populated with 1023 Mallacéens in 2007, distributed on 20.3 km², that is to say 50.3 hab/km².

During the religious wars, Maillezais was taken January 1st, 1589, and occupied by the Protestant leader, and the poet, Agrippa d'Aubigné, the grandfather of Madame de Maintenon born in the donjon of Niort.

My images of Maillezais
My images of the Sèvre Niortaise river.

Copyright © All rights reserved. The use or the reproduction, on any media, for profit or not profit, of my photographs, including my photographs published in workshop, the notes or the texts, is prohibited without my written authorization. Joel Berthonneau.

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