“Le marais audomarois” is an extensive area of marshes just outside the town of St-Omer in the north of France. Last time this region was invaded by the sea was around the era of Charlemagne, but since then most of it has been made suitable for agriculture. What remains is a vast and rather unstructured network of waterways (named “watergangs” by locals) that offers numerous options for paddle tours.
I take to the water around 10:00 am at the ISNOR water sports center in the village of Clairmarais. After a circumvention of the Romelaëre pond, I make a tour nearby the village of Salperwick, and finally a tour close to the village of Le Doulac. I get back around 4:00 pm, after having paddled 21.9 km.
Typical about this area are not only the canals, but also the rather shabby and disparate habitation throughout the marshes. Some dwellings can be reached via small backroads and funny bridges, others can only be reached by boat.
The network of canals can be very confusing, so I have to rely on my GPS to stick to the right trajectory. In principle most of the important canals have a strategically located wooden signpost with their (usually old-Flemish) names, but the signs are often weathered and hence illegible.