One of the great things about the south of France is the fantastic summer weather, which makes all sorts of outdoor activities that much more fun and enjoyable. Who doesn’t love cycling in the sunshine with blue skies, gentle breezes, butterflies and bees flitting around?
This week we took to the water for our activity of choice and headed over to Roquebrun for some kayaking with friends on the river Orb. Of course it was a beautiful day, warm enough for swimming – yes, including the unexpected kind- but not too hot for sitting in the kayaks for a few hours.
With a quick phone call the day before to Canoe Roquebrun, we had our timeslot booked, so we packed up some picnic food (baguette, fromage, jambon of course), our friends brought the rosé and off we set.
The counter staff were ready for us on our arrival so it was all very quick and easy. Equipped with our kayaks and paddles, lifejackets and waterproof tubs to carry our picnic food and other gear, we climbed into the minibus which took us and the kayaks 10km up stream to Vieussan. Once there, I listened to some quick instructions (it’s been a while since I’ve been kayaking!) then we launched ourselves in to the river and we were off.
Pont de Ceps, Roquebrun
Getting the canoes ready
Before leaving, we were instructed that after passing the first bridge (the Pont de Ceps, picture above courtesy of Wikimedia Commons) we were to look out for the “big rock in the middle”, at which point we must go to the right bank, get out and drag/carry our kayaks past the little bridge, then we could get back in, as this little bridge was far too low to go under. However – that plus some very large signs telling us going under the bridge was forbidden – didn’t stop two other guys from giving it a go! Thank goodness they made it ok, I definitely wouldn’t recommend that though!
Do not go under this little bridge
Onwards downstream and before we knew it we were going through several sets of rapids. I’ve never been through rapids before so what an exciting adventure that was for me! Luckily I remained on my kayak, despite some moments I thought I was going in… unlike TC who ended up having three unexpected swims for the day – and spectacularly went down one small rapid backwards – while the rest of us giggled of course. What else would you do?
About halfway down we pulled up on the riverbank for our picnic, then headed on, enjoying the scenery. We saw some fish, brightly coloured birds (possibly kingfishers?), something that looked like a beaver, some glossy looking goats who all ran down the river stones for a drink, and a little frog who sat by to watch us enjoying our lunch.
Enjoying a swim after a picnic lunch
Pulling in at Roquebrun, we couldn’t help but take some snaps of this absolutely gorgeous, picturesque little town, and what a beautiful view we had from down on the river. Of course, in true French fashion, we had to stop for a picher of wine or two at the guingette on the banks after our lovely adventure.
The prettiest view of Roquebrun – from the river Orb
If you happen to be in the Languedoc area during summer, I highly recommend kayaking in this spot, or even just doing as many other locals do and find a nice swimming spot somewhere along the river and enjoy the cool, crystal clear water.