Regional Nature Parks

Our vast Regional Nature Parks offer a great variety of landscapes to explore: moorland, peat bogs, forests, prairies, valleys …

Landes de Gascogne Regional Nature Park

Landes de Gascogne became a Regional Nature Park in 1970.

PNR-landes-maison-marqueze©B. Zebra

There are 41 towns in the park. Its role is to protect the area’s rich and fragile natural heritage : the valleys of Leyre and forest-galleries ; pine forests which were systematically planted on order of Napoleon III, with traces of the original moorland and its damp environment and lagunes; a rare and protected fauna (amphibians, bats, common cranes…).

The Landes de Gascogne Regional Nature Park is 315.300 hectares wide. Preserving the area’s heritage, informing visitors about its environment and the importance of the forest, are the park’s main goals.

All year long, you can take part in bird-watching activities, enjoy cycling during the ‘Le parc à vélo’ event, set off on a naturalist boat ride on the river Leyre…

Visitor centres : la Maison du Parc in Belin-Beliet, Grande Lande ecomuseum in Marqueze, Saugnac’s Workshop-Gite, Graoux centre in Belin-Beliet and « Maison de la Nature du Bassin d’Arcachon » at Le Teich – which is also an ornithological reserve. 

The Perigord-Limousin Regional Nature park


The Perigord-Limousin Regional Nature park was created in 1998. It is located on the border between Aquitaine and Limousin, between Perigueux, Limoges and Angouleme. There are 78 towns in the park, spread out to the south-west of Haute-Vienne and the north of Dordogne. The park's surface is 1.850 km square metres (180.000 hectares). It has a rich natural and cultural heritage. Water is omnipresent here, with three rivers: Vienne, Charente and Dordogne.

There are many remarkable geological points of interest: traces of a gigantic meteorite, peat bogs, and an outstanding fauna (otters, European minks, herons, white throated dippers, European pond turtles…).

There are about 40 different types of mammals living here, including 18 bat species. There are also 12 reptile species, and 110 wild bird species. The Perigord-Limousin Park's emblem is a chestnut tree.  Activities for visitors : hiking, Hauts de Tardoire green way, "vélorail", a tree-climbing park, and nature outings all year long.

The Millevaches en Limousin Regional Nature Park


The Millevaches en Limousin Regional Nature Park is located west of the Massif Central, in the heart of Limousin. It is a large 332.500 hectare plateau and is referred to as "France's water tower", which also makes it a fisherman's paradise! Many rivers take their source here (Vezere, Vienne, Taurion…). The water splits and rolls down on one side to the rivers Dordogne and Garonne (Vezere, Correze) and to the other side towards the river Loire (Vienne, Creuse). It is a combination of remarkable landscapes with peat bogs, moorland, forests and prairies. 

Its altitude ranges from 400 to 1.000 metres, and the park is home to many fragile species : otters, pearl mussels, rare butterflies, linnets, snake eagles and fario trout.

It is also an important area for migrating birds. There are 12 bird species here, including red-backed shrikes, European nightjars, woodlarks, and common cranes. 

The park's flora is also quite diverse : heather moorland, peatmoss, sundews... to name a few. Broad-leaved trees and fir trees make up our forests. During the autumn season, wild mushrooms grow in the park. There are 14 Natura 2000 sites in the park. Activities for visitors include hiking, mountain-biking and cycling, and water sports.

The Marais Poitevin Regional Nature Park


Explore the Marais Poitevin Regional Nature park, one of the country's « Grand Sites of France », and discover « Green venice » near Niort, the Dry Marsh, with its appealing bridges and locks and Aiguillon Bay, with its splendid nature reserve.
Three different types of landscapes, all surrounded by the same peaceful, serene atmosphere. Welcome to the kingdom of nature : authentic joy for your entire family!  

Green Venice: "bellissimma" !
The Wet Marsh, a unique and picturesque humid zone, spreads out over about 15.000 hectares. It is a green backdrop : ash trees, willows and alder trees, growing happily along the area's waterways.  Local crops and pastures grow way beyond the Wet marsh. Nature has taken over in this land, tamed by mankind over the centuries. 
Aiguillon Bay is a graceful transition between the Marais Poitevin and the ocean. Its landscape evolves with the tide and impressive tidal reservoirs slowly disappear beneath the Atlantic tide. "Green venice" is a registered nature reserve. It is an ideal refuge for many bird species. It is also famous for its "bouchot" mussels. Marans, on the ocean's edge, is a haven for pleasure sailing fans. 
Gorgeous Marais villages, water, peace... 
Water is omnipresent in each of the Marais Poitevin's villages. Daily life here flows to the rythm of the area's multiple waterways. Many houses are equipped with a hold where boats can be tied up. In Coulon, the capital of "Green venice", in Arçais, Sansais, Vanneau-L’Irleau, La Garette namely, small boats melt into the background. And silence is only interrupted by the slight sound of water lapping along the canal banks. 

Onboard a boat, in a canoe, or by bicycle... there are many ways to unveil the secrets and gems of the Marais Poitevin !