CANOEING, RAFTING, CANYONING
Whitewater sports: the best spots are in Occitania
The Tarn Gorges, the gorges in Aude, as well as in Dordogne, Lot and Aveyron: few regions have as many options for white-water sports as Occitania. A canoe trip with the children or an excursion on a raft with friends... On the way, you can enjoy the landscapes forged by our rivers over thousands of years: majestic gorges, rocky passes and river bends lined with cliffs. Where should you go first? Here are our tips.
THE TARN, JONTE & DOURBIE GORGES
The essential trio
The Tarn gorges, a major canoeing spot in France! Have fun on your journey along the blue-green ribbon of the River Tarn as it makes its way through an impressive landscape of cliffs, breaches and ridges.
In the same area, the Jonte gorges and the Dourbie gorges, named after tributaries of the Tarn, are also great canoeing destinations. Continue on in a canoe into the Tarn valley: you will pass under the Millau viaduct, the highest and longest cable-stayed bridge in the world, going from river bend to river bend all the way to Ambialet. Albi is not far away…
Most of the rivers in Occitania alternate between peaceful sections and faster sections with no major difficulties. They are perfectly adapted to all trips with your family or outings to explore nature.
GARDON, HÉRAULT, AUDE GORGES
Mediterranean and untamed
Near the Mediterranean Sea, the Gardon gorges will take you below the famous Pont du Gard. 30 minutes from Montpellier, the Hérault gorges attract visitors with their untamed outline and the fragrances from the heathland. You'll arrive at Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert by canoe.
In the land of the Cathars, the upper Aude valley is great for canoeing, especially between Axat and Limoux: you can choose between a family trip, a fun descent or a more challenging course. Sensations guaranteed in the rapids of the Saint-Georges Gorges and the Pierre de Lys Gorges!
The kingdom of canoeing and rafting
Countless mountain streams and rivers criss-cross the Pyrenees. In a setting like this, white-water sports are a real tradition in the Pyrenean regions: Pyrénées-Orientales, Ariège, Hautes-Pyrénées and Haute-Garonne at the southern tip.
A chance for you to enjoy canoeing, rafting, hot-dogging or swimming in white water. Supervised by professional guides, you can tackle the River Gave de Pau that rises at the heart of the Cirque de Gavarnie, or the River Neste with its turbulent waters crossing the Aure and Louron valleys.
A raft, steered by an instructor, is an inflatable vessel big enough for several people. On a mini-raft (or hot dog), only one or two people are on board. Powerful emotions guaranteed!
AVEYRON GORGES, LOT, DORDOGNE & CÉLÉ VALLEYS
Intact nature and picturesque villages
The Aveyron gorges are another ideal spot for canoeing. From Najac to Bruniquel via Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val, you'll be making your way through a green setting, between rocks and hilltop villages.
Three other beautiful rivers, the Lot, the Célé and the Dordogne, are also accessible from a whole host of embarkation points. Cliffs, castles and beautiful villages such as Entraygues-sur-Truyère, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, Cabrerets, Carennac and Gluges will add a wonderful savour to your trips.
Occitania is one of the top regions in France for canyoning
Lozère, Aveyron, Pyrénées-Orientales, Hautes-Pyrénées, Haute-Garonne, Ariège, Aude: you can enjoy canyoning in all the mountain regions of Occitania, from a single trip for beginners to longer courses. In the mountains of Cévennes, the Pyrenees or Aubrac, tectonic forces have carved out unique gorges with relatively steep slopes and featuring waterfalls, pools and natural slides.
Water hiking, a fun activity accessible to all (from age 8). It involves making your way on foot through a mountain stream with light equipment. You can give it a try in Ariège, Lozère, Aveyron, etc.
Plunge into the green-blue waters of the Tarn Gorges
The River Tarn takes its source at Mont Lozère: from there, it has carved out a very deep passage (up to 600 m deep), winding its way between the limestone plateaus of Lozère and Aveyron. From Quézac to Rozier: 53 km of winding river in all, to travel in a canoe or many other ways. Video 3 :19 © Lozère Tourisme.
- By car: Occitania has a large number of motorways (A9, A20, A61, A75, etc.).
- By plane: the region has several airports, including the international airports of Toulouse, Montpellier and Lourdes.
- By train: the region is accessible from all the major cities of France and the European capitals.