Kayaking, climbing and abseiling .... all part of an adventure holiday in the Ardeche and in our case camping too. We enjoyed a great week last year making the most of the activities as a family and it was great.
The Ardeche is a department in France named after the river that runs through it and that has formed a beautiful gorge. We were all surprised at how mountainous and rocky the area was. There is some stunning scenery and obviously some good hikes to be done in the area. We didn't have time for the hikes though as the few days we had were already planned out.
We had decided to camp (the children and I love camping even if Stuart and Sponge the dog are still to be convinced and so on arrival at the Campsite Le Ch'ti Franoi we introduced ourselves to Audrey and Steve and pitched our tent. Whilst I cooked dinner the children went off for a swim in the pool.
The next day we went into Lablachere, the nearest town, as it was market day. It's a lovely little town and the market was great - lots of fresh fruit and veg, , meat, cheese, olives, local soaps, pottery, jewellery, sweets and clothes.
We stopped off for a drink and then went back to the campsite to get ready for our afternoon on the river.
The week long itinerary includes 2 days on the Ardeche including a night on the banks of the river, but as we only had a half day we kayaked on the Chassezac river which is a tributary of the Ardeche.
Our instructors checked we were kitted out with the correct safety equipment and then we set off with the girls in one kayak and the boys in the other. There were 2 instructors in a further kayak and another in a safety boat.
During the afternoon we had chance to navigate rapids, stop to swim and also to jump off the rocks into the river. Great fun was had by all and both children fell asleep quickly that evening after all the fresh air and exercise.
The next day we joined the other families on the activity week for the climbing and abseiling day. We met down at the supermarket in Lablachere and put our packed lunches into the iceboxes provided.
We then followed the instructors to the climbing spot which was about 15 minutes away. We walked into the woods and were given helmets. As we walked down to the climbing spot there were lots of rock formations and the children got to do some "weaseling" which they loved.
Once at the main climb spot we were given harnesses and a demonstration on how to climb and belay. We were then split into groups of 3 and we spent the next couple of hours climbing the five or so different routes marked out on the rocks. Everyone got the chance to try all of the climbs and the children also got to go in a couple more caves.
Then it was back to the cars to drive down to the river for a riverside picnic. As there were quite a few of us we split into 2 groups for the afternoon and whilst one group did the abseiling the other stayed by the river to swim and rest. (We swapped over later on).
The abseiling was done into a large hole in the rocks and we had to walk up to it - this only took about 10 minutes. I have to admit it was quite a scary descent - especially the initial bit over the top and we were very proud of both children for completing it - especially as Ellen is only 8)
Sadly we were unable to stay for the river swimming as we had to head off to the vets as Sponge needed his worming tablet so we could return to the UK the next day (see my previous blog here about taking your dog with you)
There are lots of options in this area so please feel free to email us or call us to talk about what you would like to do - the activities are suitable for children from about 8 yeras old, but easier itineraries can be put together for children from 6. As well as the activites in the adventure package it's also possible to go bike riding, hiking, canyoning, caving and try via ferratas.
Of course you can also just relax and enjoy the scenery and the river.
Whatever you do it will be a holiday to remember.
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Other multi-activity holidays are available in:
- The Azores
See all the options