We invite you to discover the most beautiful places to practice canoeing. The southern regions of France are ideally located between the Mediterranean Sea and the southern foothills of the Massif Central. This geographical situation benefits from numerous waterways for canoeing enthusiasts. Venture into the most beautiful rivers and lakes of southern France and find your spot!

canoe kayak

Discovering nature

Canoeing and kayaking are among the only watercrafts that allow you to respectfully enter into contact with nature. These two types of dugout canoes that are steered with a paddle are an excellent way to discover the fauna and flora of rivers. 

The different sites offer the opportunity to go for a walk, to admire the islands and the natural banks which constitute refuges for the biodiversity. Whether it is fish (chub, vandoise, …), birds (kingfisher, sandpiper, …), trees (elms, alders, …) and aquatic plants, each of these areas represents a high ecological value.

Today, to ensure the development cycle of aquatic or semi-aquatic animals and to preserve the environment, these places are part of the French national nature reserves. Thus, each region tries to protect biodiversity so that species can spread throughout the territory. A well-functioning river is a river where species can move from site to site. 
The practice of canoeing and kayaking allows you to enjoy a splendid natural setting while being in harmony with nature. 

water activities: kitesurf

The difference between canoeing and kayaking?

Canoeing and kayaking are two disciplines that are often confused. At first glance, one might think that they are the same water sport. However, there are many differences between these two activities. 

The position

In a kayak, you sit on your buttocks. Whether in the sea, downhill, slalom, all types of kayaks are equipped with a seat. Your legs are bent to control the heel with your knees. 

On the other hand, canoeing is done on your knees or sitting down. It all depends on the type of discipline. In slalom or downriver, you will be on your knees to have more height and benefit from a more efficient paddling movement. For touring canoes, you can find a bench on which you sit.

canoe kayak

The paddle

This is the most visible difference between these two activities. The canoe paddle is relatively short, it is a simple paddle, that is to say that there is only one blade on one side of the shaft and a handle called “olive” on the other. 

The kayak paddle is double, the shaft has a pass at each end. It is also longer than the canoe paddle. 

There is therefore a difference in the way of paddling : on both sides of the boat or on one side only. 

canoe kayak

Our top 5 best spots!

The Gard

The Gard is a river located in the south east of France in the Occitanie region. Experience a succession of emotions all along the natural reserve of the Gorges du Gardon. The river is one of the wildest in the south of France.

For a canoe descent we invite you to visit the spot of Canoë Collias. Whether you are with friends or family, you will find a trip adapted to your desires.

The site offers 6 courses, ranging from 8 to 31 km and all this in a peaceful and quiet environment home to various species. You will be able to cross Bonelli’s eagles, beavers, perches, pikes, grey herons, … Don’t miss to admire the Pont du Gard. Spectacular landscapes for moments of relaxation and absolute nature!


The Canyon of Verdon

This is surely one of the most spectacular spots ! Enjoy a canoe trip in the biggest canyon in Europe. The lower Gorges of the Verdon offer a perfect setting for the practice of board sports. On the program, canyoning, rafting, swimming, and waterfalls in a unique green color.

You will discover discreet passages where the light plays with the water and where the cliffs are covered with a natural vegetal wall of beauty.

Above you, you will discover sensational views of the canyon’s geology, starting with the imposing limestone massifs and their emblematic folds. Follow in the footsteps of your ancestors by visiting the prehistoric caves.

Higher up appear the Cadière de brandis, cliffs reminiscent of the Italian dolomites.

Let yourself be charmed by this exceptional environment! Find your activity for this summer with Les Verdoniens, Secret River, Verdon Canoe Paddle, Aquaventure Park.
And for the ski lift lovers, find Exo 83.

gorges du verdon

The Canyon of Ardeche

One hour south of Valence, discover the famous Ardèche gorges, a paradise for canoeists and kayakers. Immerse yourself in this unmissable destination with its breathtaking cliffs and mountainside villages. The 32 km of Gorge are classified as a national nature reserve since 1980.

Canoeing and kayaking are popular activities in the summer on the following sites Azur canoe, Castor canoe, Alpha bateaux, Acqua bateaux.

Admire this magnificent region on 24 km of descent. Along the way, the discovery of the gorges is breathtaking, the highlight of the show, the Vallon-Pont-d’Arc, a natural arch of 54 meters high, dug by the river and become the symbol of the Ardèche.

Nearby, the world-famous Chauvet cave, testifies to the presence of prehistoric man. It was used as a refuge against bad weather.

Go for an adventure in the Devesset water park, the Étoile park 26 or the Ardecho wake park for the wake board fans, ski lift, paddle and aquapark.

The cultural richness and the various water activities of the Ardeche make this place fascinating.

Ardeche en canoe


In the Occitan region, head for an exceptional natural setting. Between Mediterranean vegetation (olive tree, thyme, lavender) and limestone rock, the surroundings of the Gorges de l’Hérault offer many leisure activities: canoeing, hiking, climbing…

Let yourself be seduced by a steep and steep rocky landscape that is a natural habitat for plant and animal species. Linking Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert and Aniane, the Devil’s Bridge marks the beginning of the famous Gorges de l’Hérault. It is considered as one of the oldest medieval bridges in France and is classified as a world heritage site by UNESCO.

The region is home to a large number of canoeing and kayaking spots: Kayak Herault, Canoe Kayapuna, Les Canoes du Pont Diable, Canoe Rapido.

At the border between fresh and salt water, the lez is also very popular.

The Canyon of the Tarn

Located in Lozere, the Gorges of Tarn are a destination for canoeing trips, with nearly thirty kilometers of canoeing. You will discover the typical places of the region while passing by semi-troglodyte villages (half in the rock and half in the outside) and the castle of La Caze.

After passing the bridge of La Malène, you are immersed in the wildest part of the gorges. The straits of the gorges offer a magnificent landscape with large cliffs rising on either side of the river. With a little luck, you will come across rare species such as vultures.

Numerous canoeing spots are waiting for you: Canoe Aigue Vive, Canoe le Rozier, Canoe Méjean, Canoe aqua soleil eau.

les gorges du tarn

You want to know more about canoe and kayak? Discover our article on the subject #Spotymag.