The section from Vallon Pont d'arc down to St Martin is a 32km stretch through an amazing 1000ft gorge. With amazing views, stunning wildlife (wild boar, Bonneli's Eagles, beavers and more), and numerous rapids to navigate, the Ardeche river is the perfect place for canoes and kayaks and both beginners and experienced paddlers alike.
Suitable for the whole family and a really tranquil / at-one-with-nature experience.
Ardeche Gorge, border of Rhone-Alps and Languedoc just NE of Avignon
Nearest Stations: Nimes, Avignon
Tel: +44 (0)1749 812109
The Pont D’arc of Vallon-Pont-d’Arc is a 40m high natural bridge above the Ardeche River and the starting point of a canoe camping adventure. Take boats for three days instead of the normal two; you will be given a large barrel but will still have to plan carefully what you put inside if you have not light weight camped before. Book one night at each of the two bivvy campsites; not as basic as they sound as they have wash blocks with hot showers and campsite barbeque stands. Bring all your own food, but you can refill your water bottles at the natural springs. The slow pace will give you time for long lazy picnic and swimming lunch stops and a chance to paddle in the afternoons when the crowds have disappeared downstream. With our children we found many fish, crickets, lizards, frogs, one otter, plenty of wild boar evidence and also, more scarily, a water snake. In the evenings we hunted for glow worms and cicadas before sleeping in a row outside, looking for shooting stars. Don’t risk leaving the tent behind though, it rains in August even in the South of France.
canoe hire: www.aventure-canoes.fr/
camp site by the river: www.campings-ardeche.com/camping_frs/ardeche/clients/camp-des-gorges/f1.html
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