The river the Tenu

  • Le Tenu
  • Le Tenu
  • Le Tenu
Le TenuLe TenuLe Tenu


The Tenu is one of the only rivers in France to flow in both directions! In fact, this river has such a small gradient (40 cm from end to end) that its course can reverse when the tides are high enough to affect the level of the Loire.
Did you know?
- From its narrow width and tranquil course through untroubled countryside, you wouldn't think that the name Tenu was even known in the chancellery offices of the Merovingian kings.
- In days gone by, when roads were still few and far between, rivers and streams were used to transport goods and materials from one village to another. (salt, wine, wheat and other goods).
- Its source is in Touvois, a small commune in the south of the Pays de Retz. From Saint-Même-le-Tenu onwards, this small stream becomes a river, widening and becoming navigable.
- Its winding course stretches for 35km, over fairly flat ground and through marshy meadows. It flows through the communes of Sainte-Pazanne and Port-Saint-Père, where it joins the Acheneau river, before resuming its course after Rouans towards Vue and running all the way to the Loire.
- As soon as it rains heavily, it floods the wet meadows it flows through, creating fertile land. The section between Lake Grandlieu and the Buzay canal is called the Acheneau.

A little history:
Sainte-Pazanne is bordered by the course of the river Tenu, whose waters it borrows at Port-Fessant, where a great deal of maritime traffic once took place. In the 17th century, the navigation rights on the Tenu were so productive that they aroused the covetousness of an abbey in the Ardennes. In 651, Sigebert III granted the abbey a diploma granting the right to a tonlieu to be levied on the Taunucus, the former name of the Tenu. The monks settled at a point on the river that later took the name of the Ardennes (the small village still exists today). The Tenu was therefore a safe river for the barges that had been used on the Loire since time immemorial. Despite the tax inventions of the feudal system, the water mills and the fisheries, despite the narrow passageways built into the walls that allowed the river to be crossed, and despite the obstruction of its mouth, the Tenu has always been used throughout the ages and was still being used at the beginning of the 19th century.

How and why discover the Tenu?
- The Tenu is still navigable today from several communes if you have your own boat (canoe or paddle). On the other hand, if you don't have your own equipment, you can discover the river and its payages with our partner Escapade Nature, who can hire you canoes, kayaks, pedalos or even electric boats from Port-St-Père down to Saint-Mars-de-Coutais.
- It's a really enjoyable trip on the river, which we recommend whenever the weather's right, from April to September, when the winter rains have passed and the river is safe to navigate.
- On foot, starting from Port-Saint-Père, and accessible via the "Port-Saint-Père/Saint-Mars" train stop, you can complete this short 5.6km loop: Le Safari et le Tenu circuit or the Roche Saint-Louis circuit starting from Sainte-Pazanne.
- If you want to extend your stay, you can book accommodation at the Nuit de Retz hotel or even at the Morinière municipal campsite in Port-St-Père. In Sainte-Pazanne, a number of unusual accommodation options are available, including the Repaire du Hibou, where you can enjoy "natural moments".

So what are you waiting for to come and play the robinsons?
    • River
  • TOWN :
    • Vue



Le Tenu
Le Port Faissant
GPS coordinates
Latitude : 47.09285
Longitude : -1.78650
  • Distance from the center (church ) :
    • 25 km. from the center of Pornic
    • 22 km. from the center of La Bernerie
    • 12 km. from the center of Arthon
    • 10 km du centre de Fresnay
    • 15 km du centre de Bourgneuf
Contact details
The river the Tenu
Le Port Faissant