Come and cool off in the early morning “aiguail” by the banks of the Gartempe! Aiguail is the Poitou name for dew, derived from another word, égue, meaning “water”....
Come and cool off in the early morning “aiguail” by the banks of the Gartempe! Aiguail is the Poitou name for dew, derived from another word, égue, meaning “water”.
The location of the Montmorillon area meant that it was subject to influences from both the north and the south; its linguistic terms largely derive from the Langue d’oc (the Occitan language spoken in the south) in which water is aigue, from the Latin aqua; in the Langue d’oïl (the Old French spoken in the north), the word used was éve.
Between Lathus-Saint-Rémy and Saulgé, the valley of the Gartempe still resembles a mountain river, with its frequently turbulent currents and rocky bed. Its crystal-clear waters, its banks and valley sides provide shelter for unusual, and often threatened, species of plants and animals. The south-north oriented valley of the Gartempe cuts into the granitic basement rocks and steep ravines have been created which vary with their location. Within these environments, unique flora and fauna have evolved. For example, the wet meadows have been colonised by moor grass, also known as palène, which shelters many rare plants such as cottongrass, recognisable by its cotton-like tufts, and the loose-flowered orchid.
The Gartempe also contains a number of granitic rocks with sheer faces and a great many fissures. This unusual formation allows mosses and lichens to develop, providing colour. Beautiful forests of maple and lime cover the steep granite slopes. A little lower, along the riverbanks, alder and ash trees grow in the alluvium-rich soil; specimens of the Royal Fern, an extremely rare and stunning fern, may be also be seen.
Finally, an entirely unique fauna thrives in this area, including in the water which is of an exceptionally high quality; indeed, the prestigious salmon swims up the Gartempe in order to reproduce, after spending several years in the sea off the coast of Greenland. A true jewel in the Montmorillon landscape, this valley is deserving of both recognition and respect.
This circuit is one of 12 circuits known collectively as "L'Aiguail de la Gartempe", located in the Lathus-Saint-Rémy, Montmorillon and Saulgé area.