Coulon, in the department of Deux Sevres, is named as one of "les plus beaux villages de France", and the village itself is very attractive, with its yellow houses strung alongside the Sevre Niortaise river.

But the label that the area has somehow managed to acquire of "la Venise Verte" - the "Green Venice" - is a complete misnomer, unless one imagines by that a single attractive water-course (the Sevre Niortaise) surrounded by millions of acres of flat, featureless farmland. Nobody who has ever been to Venice could compare the two. And yet the area attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year - some of whom at least must be repeat visitors. What do they find to look at?!

All very pretty but… this is it!

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