Rafting and Canoeing
Black Rock (!) rafting in Gorge
de l'Allier, Haut Loire, Auvergene, France
© Hubert Camille
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white-water rafting is not difficult to find on the French mainland due to the abundance of mountain ranges; the Alps, Pyrenees and Massif
Central all offer great rides with great guides in amazing locations.
And if rafting has become a tedious form of done-that transport, why
- White-water swimming, also known as hydrospeed, with a sort of bodyboard,
helmet, jacket, gloves, wetsuit and flippers?
- Canorafting, a two-person inflatable boat/canoe, also with full
protective gear like the hydrospeed?
- Air-boating, like canorafting only it's a one-person inflatable
craft which you sit on, rather than in? The same protective gear as
- Water Rambling, dispense with all the boat business and just float
away in your high buoyancy jacket and wetsuit, occasionally walking
across bits inaccessible to those on boats.
One of the best places in France to go white water rafting is the Verdon
Gorge, where activities include rafting, kayaking, canoeing, tubing, floating, hydrospeeding and whatever else is fashionable thatyear. The two best Gorge sections are:
- Haut Verdon, with 40 kms (25 miles) of rapids between Allos and St Andre Les Alpes (Castillon Lake); best April-June.
- Moyen Verdon, either a short bit from Castellane to Pont de Carajuan, or 30kms (21 miles) of serious rapids and steep sides in the Canyon du Verdon; best March-September.
White-water specialists: Aboard
Canyoning and Climbing: Aventure et Nature
Multiple activities including kayaking, rafting, biking, canyoning, climbing: Aqua Viva Est
Canoeing past one of the Dordogne's prettiest villages, La
© Jean-Daniel Sudres
A massively popular sport in this country, canoes and kayaks can be rented just about anywhere there is a reasonable patch of water,
but especially so on rivers in the Southwest around the Dordogne,
Vézere (World Heritage Paleolithic zone), Lot and Tarn.
this area quiet rivers drift you past traditional French scenes of
canyons, limestone cliffs, oak forests, vineyards, hilltop castles
and fortified villages, entertaining you en route and then hosting
your aching bones and dry throat at the end of the day. Also see Verdon
Gorge for more inland French activity ideas.