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The best French destinations for canoeing and kayaking

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Canoeing is an exciting activity that allows you to recharge your batteries and enjoy unique experiences depending on where you practice it. In France there are dream destinations to practice this water sport in a friendly environment. They offer itineraries for different canoeist profiles and offer you an exceptional natural environment. Discover the best French destinations for canoeing.

Canoe-kayak descent of the Ardèche

The Ardèche is undeniably one of France’s best destinations for the canoe. With its magnificent setting and natural heritage, it has everything to seduce visitors wishing to travel this river by boat. It is surrounded by an untouched natural landscape. Canoeing here gives you the opportunity to navigate through remarkable gorges and rock formations. You can follow the routes you prefer to discover its must-see sites.

There are really different circuits for descend the Ardèche by canoe-kayak powered by canoe rental professionals. They vary according to your level of experience (beginner, intermediate, pro), your age and the length of your holiday. Among the most popular routes is the one between Vallon-Pont-d’Arc and the Ardèche gorges. Some service providers also offer recreational, sports, individual, group or relaxation packages.

Depending on your preferences and profile, you can navigate calm waters or have an epic experience on more intense rapids. This adventure in the heart of the Ardèche nature allows you to contemplate the natural arch of the Pont d’Arc from a privileged point of view. It also allows you to admire the steep cliffs of the Ardèche gorges, lush greenery and sandy beaches along the river. Depending on the route, you will be able to observe the Chauvet Cave, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, as well as the wild species of the nature reserve.

Go canoeing on the Canal du Midi

This shipping channel, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is ideal for canoeing alone, with friends or family. It is a natural site that invites you to relax, as there are almost no strong currents or rocks along this channel. This allows you to navigate stress-free aboard your boat. This destination is perfect for beginners and is suitable for all kayaker profiles. Its surrounding nature continues to attract adventurers to whom it promises an invigorating walk.

You can observe blue-collared ducks there. With a little luck, Riton, gray herons and sea turtles can also be seen in an environment punctuated by birdsong. Its warm and relaxing environment is conducive to canoe and kayak with the family. During this excursion, you will be able to discover the 9 locks of Fonseranes, the Malpas tunnel, the round lock of Agde and the Raboté-Cornes bridge.

In addition to its rich historical heritage, this mythical river allows you to enjoy a magnificent landscape. The latter is mainly surrounded by green vineyards, cypresses and sunflower fields. To enjoy a canoe-kayak experience on the Canal du Midi, it is necessary to rent the necessary equipment. You must also be aware of the safety rules or instructions to follow.

The options offered may vary from vendor to vendor. In general, you can choose between different routes depending on the duration of your activity, your level and your age. For example, you can choose a multiple day option for canoeing on the Canal du Midi or a short excursion of a few hours. You can also take advantage of the picnic areas at your disposal to enhance your activity in the heart of nature.

Plan a route on the Dordogne

This river, also considered a river, is a privileged destination for the practice of nautical activities such as canoeing. It passes through six departments and villages which are among the most beautiful in France. Among the latter we find Beynac-et-Cazenac, La Roque-Gageac and Domme. The Dordogne is renowned for its ecosystem and its preserved environment. Its basin is classified as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO.

Borrow a canoe-kayak route allows you to immerse yourself in a natural landscape made of green hills, medieval villages, limestone cliffs and castles that bear witness to the historical past of the region. A trip on this river offers you the opportunity to discover prehistoric sites such as the famous Lascaux caves. It is a tourist attraction containing cave paintings dating back thousands of years.

The fauna and flora of this watercourse also contribute to enriching yours canoe experience. In fact, you will be able to observe protected species on your itinerary, such as the Roman hyacinth and the estuarine angelica. The Dordogne is also a privileged habitat for migrating fish such as eels, salmon, sturgeons and lampreys.

It is also home to mammals such as otters, water urchins, beavers, deer and foxes. You will be able to observe some of them during your canoe trip on its waters. This activity is accessible to all kayaker profiles. You just have to choose the canoe-kayak rental and choose a course suited to your level to navigate the Dordogne.

Canoeing in the Ardèche

Discover the Loire Valley through a canoe trip

Practice the canoe on the longest river de France is a must-do activity. Sailing on the waters of the Loire guarantees you a unique experience in the valley. This is a recreational excursion in the idyllic setting of Europe’s last wild river. It offers you the opportunity to rediscover the Loire Valley from an authentic point of view. In addition, the river has the necessary infrastructure to allow you to practice canoeing in complete safety. Most of its routes are signposted and facilitate orientation on its waters.

Their diversity also allows you to choose courses suited to your level. If you don’t have the necessary equipment, the canoe-kayak equipment rental remains the ideal solution for a peaceful navigation on the Loire. Experts accompany you to guide you throughout your excursion. During this, you will be able to observe migratory birds, beavers and architectural jewels. Among these are:

  • Chambord castle,
  • Jacques Gabriel bridge,
  • Chenonceau Castle,
  • the bridge of Europe,
  • the castle of Amboise.

You can also sail by the picturesque river islands to observe their wildlife and lush vegetation. Paddling on this river also allows you to discover the surrounding vineyard landscapes of the Loire Valley. An original way to practice this activity is to opt for a night hike. It gives you the opportunity tostargazing from your canoe-kayak.

The view is magnificent at sunset and during the full moon, especially when the sky is clear and starry. During the day, you can take advantage of the shallow creeks of the Loire to practice swimming with friends, lovers or family. If you opt for a longer excursion, you can have a picnic on one of the river islands in a friendly environment.

Explore the Gorges du Verdon aboard a canoe-kayak

Carved by the Verdon, a French river, this canyon considered one of the most beautiful in Europe remains a favorite tourist attraction for visitors from all over the world. Explore this impressive natural site of canoeing remains an original activity which guarantees you wonder. It allows you to enjoy a beautiful landscape and a magnificent view of the lake of Sainte-Croix. In your boat on the crystal clear waters of the Verdon, you can discover the pre-gorges, the Grand Canyon, the Baudinard gorges and the lower gorges.

During your journey, you will be able to contemplate majestic rock formations and recharge your batteries in this natural environment. Due to the clarity of the water, it is relatively easy to observe aquatic life. At high altitude it is easy to spot griffon vultures, hoopoes and more rarely eagle owls. On the other hand, on rocks or river banks, it is rather animals such as lizards, snakes and insects that attract attention. So know the best French destinations for canoeing and kayaking.