The stunning Ardeche gorge gives the back drop for activity and adventure in the south of France.
What the price includes (Prices based upon minimum travelling group size of 4)
What the price does not include
Meeting you from the airport, we will provide all the transport you need to experience the spectacle of the abundant rock and canyons available along the route of the river and the surrounding areas. Our base for the week will be the pretty village of St Albans -Auriolles, 1 hours drive north from the airport of Nimes and only a short hope from Vallon Pont d’Arc. This puts us right in the heart of one of the most spectacular geological features in southern Europe and in easy distance from all our activities. Each day we will break out from our base to find new challenges, even spending a night camping wild on the shores of the Ardeche as we navigate its gentle flows and occasional rapids. The experience will be tailored to the experience and capability of the individuals in the group and progress accordingly. Typically we will start with the basics of technique and rope work of climbing, then progressing on to descending one of the spectacular canyons and the river paddle in the middle of the week and returning to a final climb before returning home. We can return at the end of a good hard day to the comfort of our hotel to unwind, rest those sore muscles in the pool, take on a hearty meal and prepare for the next day’s adventures.
The expedition involves some moderately strenuous paddling with loads, and team members should be aware that this can be for a lengthy period of time (up to 6 hours). Team members should also be willing to help and participate with the day-to-day running of the experience, including helping to pitch/strike camps and cooking on camping days.
For the paddling section of this experience we will be starting out from the town of Vallon Pont d’Arc and follow the course and direction of flow down the length of the Ardeche gorge. The first days paddling will be mainly a teaching exercise showing and improving your boat handling skill as we slowly flow down river passing beneath the iconic Le Pont d’Arc to camp at the Chateau de Gaud. The route will then continue to wind its way through the imposing limestone cliffs to our finish point at St Martain d’Ardeche some 32 km from the start
There are three major activities on this experience, each with their own individual challenges. We will break up the week so that these challenges complement each other and allow you to rest wiry muscles from the day before while working new muscles the next. This gives a varied and exciting program over the week. The river paddle takes up 2 of our days with the longest section of the journey on the second day. A rest day follows this, allowing you to enjoy the area as you see fit, though additional activities are available to you if you should so wish.
Preparation and Training
An experience of this length and in this environment is an exciting but challenging prospect and as such we suggest some preparation and training. The experiences of the individual participants on the experience may vary greatly, from an experienced river paddler to a complete beginner, so the level of preparation depends upon you. A generally good level of fitness will greatly improve the enjoyment you will have on the experience.
Please note that this is an example itinerary, and is dependent upon team ability, local conditions and infrastructure.
Day 1: Fly to Nimes
All participants will fly to Nimes, where we will meet you and bring you to the hotel for the duration of your stay. Here we will have a team briefing and you will meet the rest of the team and be able to get to know each other and ask any last minute questions.
Day 2: Climbing at Arzons
Starting the day with a good breakfast, we will issue you with all the equipment you will need to climb for the week. We will then drive out to our first crag of the week, Arzons. This is the perfect beginner’s crag with a comfortable angle to the climbing and no walk in from the car park. Here we will begin to learn the basic skills and techniques needed to climb with safety and enjoyment.
Day 3: La Fontasse Gorge
We are up early once again so we can be on the road to our first gorge location. Heading north from Vallon for about an hour, our goal lies just outside the village of Labastide sur Besorgues, Be prepared for some wetness as we jump from waterfalls in this atmospheric canyon (2 hr decent). We will kit up on arrival at the car park then take a half hour walk up to the start of the gorge. Then it in for the wet and wild till we return to the car park later in the day.
Day 4: Ardeche River paddle
Paddling south from our put-in site just outside Vallon Pont d’Arc we will take a slow 12km paddle down to our overnight camp at the Chateau de Gaud. Along the way we will train you in and improve your paddling skills to cope with the flow of the river.
After striking our camp we will continue down the river taking in the sights and sounds of the national park while negotiating the many small rapids along the remaining 20km of our journey before reaching St Martin d’Ardeche, where we will wait for our pick up with a well deserved drink in this picturesque town.
Day 6: Rest Day We have a rest day today to help your bodies recover and minds relax from the activities of the past few days. This day is all yours for you to do as you please. If you would like to see some of the local area, or alternatively you can spend your day lounging around the pool. On this day there is also the elective opportunity to take another day in a gorge or climbing location for and additional nominal cost.
Day 7: Climbing Mazet (adaptable) We are back on the rock at the beautiful river bend location of the Mazet crag. Set beneath the castle village of Castlejau and on the Ardeche tributary river, the Chassezac. The steeper climbs and over hanging routes of this area bristles with new challenges and the extra ordinary rock quality keeps the routes in check. Staying within your capabilities we will work on our skills, improve confidence and have fun. Then finish the day by enjoying a swim from the beach to freshen up!
PLEASE NOTE: Please note that the above itinerary is intended as a guideline only all though every effort will be made to adhere to it, changes may be forced on it by weather conditions, transport failure or other unforeseen events. Please be prepared to be flexible if necessary.
Previous experience is not required for this adventure although a good level of self-motivation and general fitness is required. Additional experience and preparation courses can be booked through Valkyrie Pursuits Ltd.We are back on the rock at the beautiful river bend location of the Mazet crag. Set beneath the castle village of Castlejau and on the Ardeche tributary river, the Chassezac. The steeper climbs and over hanging routes of this area bristles with new challenges and the extra ordinary rock quality keeps the routes in check. Staying within your capabilities we will work on our skills, improve confidence and have fun. Then finish the day by enjoying a swim from the beach to freshen up!
All necessary technical equipment, harnesses will be provided on trip by Valkyrie Pursuits Ltd. Personal technical equipment and harnesses may be used by participants provided an accurate equipment log can be provided for the equipment.
What to Pack:
·Good trainers you don’t mind getting wet
·Comfortable shoes or trainers for rest of the time
·Swimming costume (for under wetsuit)
·Waterproofs, Jacket and over trousers
·Fleece jacket/ jumper layers (Evenings)
·Changes of clothes for after getting wet and for the evenings
·Day sack/ rucksack
·Basic first aid kit
·Water bottle/ Camel pack
Light weight sleeping bag and roll mat
·Personal items (towel, toiletries etc.)
·Personal entertainment (books, iPod etc.)
·Repair kit (e.g. needle, thread, duct tape)
·Small rubbish bags, carry out what you bring in
Any further items you may think appropriate or nessesary for your personal comfort are welcome
We carry full adventurous activities insurance of up to 10 million liability, covering you for emergency rescue and repatriation. However it is strongly advised that you should take out your own travel and adventurous activity insurance despite this.
24Hr check in available
Our Ardèche hotel, the ’Le Douce France’ is in the pretty village of St Albans-Auriolles. Guests will experience a lively mix of people at this hotel from independent adventurers and locals who drop in for a drink or a meal.
- Central, secure swimming pool.
- All en-suite rooms.
- Air conditioning (except in the cool stone of the old house)
- Free WIFI internet
- Excellent bar and restaurant
- Twin, double or triple/quad ‘family’ rooms available.
- Evasion Travel staff on hand. English spoken.
The peaceful location on the edge of the village is 10 minutes walk from the River with quiet spots for sunbathing and swimming. Walking and mountain biking trails start at the door and numerous climbing sites are within a short distance. Quiet roads and clear signs make access by car or bicycle easy. It’s the perfect place from which to enjoy the Ardeche.
|- Air Conditioning||- Direct-dial phone|
|- Ensuite bathrooms||- Heating System|
|- In-room Safe||- Satellite/Cable TV|
|- 24 Hour Reception||- Cafe/Bar||- Disabled Facilities|
|- Evening Entertainment||- Free Car Park||- Games Area|
|- Garden Area||- Outdoor Dining Facilities||- Outdoor Swimming Pool|
|- Pool Table||- Restaurant||- Safety Deposit Box|
|- Supermarket||- Terrace||- WIFI Access|
Transfer time from Nimes 1 Hour 30 minutes approximately.Car Hire Directions
Address for GPSVallon pont d'arc
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