canoeingIf you're looking for activities for your kids and you want an alternative to the beach in Languedoc, give this a try. Hire canoes and canoe up the dramatic Gorges de l'Herault. Near to St Guilhem-le-Desert in Languedoc there is a small river that has cut a dramatic ravine (Gorges de l'Herault) through the rock. This is one our boys favourite things to do in Languedoc.

canoeingThis activity is one of Cameron's (our eldest boy, aged 8) all time Top 10 Kids Activities. Near to St Guilhem-le-Desert in Languedoc there is a small river that has cut a dramatic ravine (Gorges de l'Herault) through the rock. Where the river emerges under the Pont du Diable (a wonderful medieval bridge that crosses the river), it has been dammed to form a small lake, complete with beach. The water is cool, crystal clear and wonderful for swimming in during the hot Languedoc summer months. It makes an excellent alternative to the beach. This is one our boys favourite things to do in Languedoc.

 

Kids in France: Canoeing up the ravine

On the side of the lake's beach there is a Canoe Hire kiosk, where you can rent a canoe for €10 per hour. They have a good range of canoes for families and couples. You will probably only need about an hour. You canoe across the lake and then about 1km up the ravine. It is a bit windy in places, but this all adds to the fun. We managed to get our canoe wedged across the ravine in between two rocks. After about 10 minutes you will discover your inate canoeing driving skills and may even be able to go in a straight line rather than from side to side. After about 20 minutes canoeing you will arrive at a big rock in the middle of the river. This is the turnaround point. Our kids love to scramble up on the rocks and jump into the river complete with dramatic screams. Some mums have even been known to jump in! Going back always seems easier in the canoe. Just watch out for people jumping off the Pont du Diable as you canoe under it. This seems to be a bit of a tradition in this area of Languedoc.

 

Activities for kids in France

So if you're looking for activities for your kids in France and you want an alternative to the beach, give this a try. It is a Cheap day out. As a Kids Activity we rate this as a 9/10. It is inexpensive, you can easily spend half a day here looking up at the dramatic views or the lunatics diving off the Pont du Diable bridge Acapulco style. The children can occupy themselves in the lake or walking along the river or exploring the woods.

For those looking for more adventurous activities in France, the Canoe La Vallee de Moulins rafting centre (situated below Causseon the D4) runs excursions down the ravine to St Guilhem. (tel: 04 67 73 12 45) and elsewhere in Languedoc.

If you're looking for something else to do afterwards, try visiting the Cave De Damoisels or pop into St Guilhem for a mooch about. St Guilhem is widely regarded as the prettiest village in Languedoc .

Getting there:

St Guilhem is situated in Languedoc between Montpellier (20km west) and Lodeve (15km east) and Clermont l'Herault. The best route is from Gignac, through Aniane on the D32. As you leave Aniane you take the D27 towards St-Guilhem-le-Desert. It is well signposted to St Guilhem (and also Grotte de Clamouse) After about 3km and just as the mountains start to rise up, you will arive at Pont du Diable. Parking can be a bit difficult, it is worth getting here early. Park up on the right, before you cross the Pont du Diable. You can then either walk Kamikaze style down the pathways off the cliff, or take the 10 minute walk across the Pont du Diable and take the roadway into the back of the lake (you will emerge where the Canoe Hire kiosk is).

 


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