Frédéric Legris – Saint-Omer
The marshland (marais) of the Audomarois region is a fascinating habitat characterised by stunning landscapes and a unique atmosphere. Frédéric Legris, a native of Saint-Omer, lives in the marshland, in the district of Yzel.
The son of a market gardener, he spends his time exploring the marais audomarois, which extends across 3,700 hectares of land and water. Very precisely he explains the difference between the typical boats used by farmers here: the bacôve does the job of a farmer’s lorry here, while the escut takes on the role of a car. From 400 in 1900, the number of farmers has plummeted to around 40 today.
“I know a few farmers who are happy to open their doors and to highlight their growing methods as part of one my visits. Here, chicory is still grown in the ground, which is a rare occurrence these days! I like to head off the beaten track to discover the fauna and flora of the marshland. I tell children the story of Marie Grouette, the witch of the marais, who would catch those who got too close to the water with her hook!”
Did you know that some houses are only accessible by boat and that the postman uses the same form of transport to deliver the mail? “The marais is another world, which changes all the time whatever the time of year or time of day. It’s also on a migratory route for birds.”Birds head for the Réserve du Romelaëre, which was classified as a national nature reserve in 2008.
“In the marais you can go on a boat trip, have lunch in a small inn, stay in a gîte etc. I know all the festivals that take place in the area, such as the nautical procession at the end of July…as well as the best places to buy delicious vegetables!”