If you’re a kayaker seeking travel, adventure, and a full dose of beautiful, bucolic scenery, go kayaking on the great rivers of France. There are plenty to choose from including the Loire River, the Garrone, Rhone, Dordogne, and more.
Kayaking and wilderness camping in France
We talked recently with a Frenchman who does in France what kayakers do on rivers all around the globe: pack their kayaks, point them downriver, and head out for a day – or many days – of boating, exploring, enjoyment, relaxation, and camping in beautiful natural settings.
French kayaker, Jacques Saunier, caught the kayaking bug about fifteen years ago and has explored thousands of miles of rivers through France’s beautiful countryside ever since in a variety of hard-hull and inflatable kayaks.
Over time, as he gained kayaking experience, he came to the conclusion that he’d get maximum utility from a kayak that could handle everything from Class 1 to Class 4 rapids. His further requirements were that it be able to withstand close encounters with river rocks; that it be relatively fast in flat water; and that it be capable of handling 400 lbs. — Jacques and his gear.
“While searching for kayaks online, I discovered Sea Eagle’s Explorer Kayaks,” says Jacques. “I say with confidence that the Sea Eagle fits my boating style perfectly.” What’s his style? Jacques kayaks France’s rivers and camps in the open countryside.
“With my 420X Explorer Kayak, I’ve traveled 500 miles in several trips on the Loire River; over 200 miles of the Dordogne twice; more than 93 miles of the Vezere River, and more.”
France’s great rivers
The Loire River, at 629 miles, is the longest in France. Along the Loire, boaters pass many vineyards and picturesque Renaissance chateaux. The weather in the Loire Valley is considered to be some of the finest weather in France.
The Dordogne River, in southwestern France, passes through an upper valley with a series of deep river gorges. Its lower region winds through a valley of fertile farmland, orchards, and pastures.
The Vezere River courses 131 miles through southwestern France. The Vezere Valley is well known as the site of prehistoric caves, many of which have cave paintings.
More photos of Jacques’ French kayaking adventure online
For many more photos of of Jacques’ kayaking adventures on some of the great rivers of France, visit his online posts on “Carnets d’Aventures,” a French adventurers’ forum. His online name is jak91. Click here to see photos of his trip down the Dordogne. Click here to see photos combining Jacques’ photos from his Loire and Dordogne trips.
Check your kayak as airline luggage
Flying to your next kayaking adventure? That’s where an inflatable kayak really has an obvious advantage over the hard-hull variety: IKs (inflatable kayaks) deflate and pack small enough to be checked as airline luggage. Inflatable kayaks like Jacques’s 14-foot Sea Eagle 420X Explorer Kayak weighs just 54 lbs. and pack in a carry-bag that’s 31” x 21” x 10”.
Our world’s a global community these days and kayaking adventure is a universal language. No matter which of the world’s great rivers you travel, you’re sure to meet other kayakers like Jacques and have adventures you’ll long remember.