Tag Archives: ardeche

Self-Catering, Single-Centre Tours

Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Tours

This has been our usual style of accommodation in the 14 seasons we have been running our tours.

But we think it might be time for a change. Last year we ran two tours on the Self-Catering, Single-Centre basis and we think some of our clients may like to try it. Below we will describe how it could work for you in practical terms, and for which tours we think it may be suitable.

Self-Catering, Single-Centre Tours

Traditionally we have followed the canoes downstream and stayed in small Inns, B&B and hotels along the way with the occaisonal two night stay in a single place.

To reduce the costs of a holiday it may be practical to stay in a single-centre for the entirety of the tour and ride out to the canoe put-in at the beginning of the day and drive back from the take-out at the end of the day.

We’ve tried this on our 6 Day Célé Tour on several occaisons and stayed at the converted farmhouse at Métairie Bass with Richard & Helen every night. This works well in this area as each days drive is very short and never longer than 30 minutes. However this is NOT self-catering. Although this single-centre is still available we are suggesting that our clients may wish to hire a gîtes (a villa or holiday home) and stay here for a week whilst being ferried to and from the river every day for the canoe tour.

In this way you can stay in the same place and cater for yourselves for the holiday.

Practical Considerations

Q: where do the guides stay?

A: either in the same gîtes or not. It’s up to you. If we share then we’ll be helping out with the catering etc.

Q: who does the cooking?

A: you do unless we are staying in the same gîtes and we’ll do our share.

Q: do we have to self-cater every night

A: no! We can arrange evenings out to restaurants on as many evenings as you like. We can make suggestions for you – we already use some on our Inn-to-Inn tours or course, but feel free to make your own suggestions.

Q: who does the shopping?

A: we do, we have the minibus to to run around and do all the shopping, although you are welcome to join us.

Q: how do we choose and pay for a gîtes?

A: we can do this for you and present you with some choices and costs when we are designing the tour, or you can choose and decide for yourself – in this case we’ll cost the price of the tour without accommodation.

Q: how do we pay for the shopping and evenings out?

A: we can arrange this when we design the tour for you, but generally it will be on a ‘pay as you go’ basis e.g. paying at the shop or restaurant on the day. This allows for greater freedom about choosing when to eat in or out.

Q: what about lunches

A: we will still provide all the picnic lunches when on the river & trail

Q: what about the length of the tour?

A: gîtes are rented by the week in France (usually from Saturday to Saturday) so some of the shorter tours would need to be extended. We could suggest itineraries for these days or they could be free days for you. The minibus would be available.

Q: which tours are suitable for this kind of accommodation

A: we think the following tours would work:

6 Day Célé Tour with driving time to the river at a maximum of 30 minutes. An extra two days could be spent on hiking or wild-swimming or a vineyard visit.

7 Day Perigord Tour, max driving time of about an hour.

8 Day Ardeche Tour, this would have to exclude the hiking in the Cevennes, which would be replaced by other activities – closer hiking routes are available, or other activities are a possibility too, for example vineyard visits or wild-swimming. The maximum driving would be about an hour to/from the river.

8 Day Allier Tour, max driving time to/from the river of about 40 minutes

6 Day Tarn Tour, max driving time to/from the river of about an hour. The extra two days could be spent of further hiking on the causse, wild-swimming etc

 

Any Further Questions?

You can email me directly at stevenhouse@greenrivercanoes.com if you would like any further information or clarification about our tours, whether self-catering or not.

 

Advertisements

8 Days in the Ardeche

GRC_2015NewsletterHeader

Canoeing 4 Rivers in the Ardeche & Gard

This is an 7 Night, 8 Day trip in which we canoe on the Gardon, the Ceze, the Chassezac and the Ardeche in the Ardeche and Gard regions of south-east France.

We will explore the Gorges of the Ardeche and Gard regions by canoe and the Ardeche and the Cevennes by foot as well as visit the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave. We will paddle through the famous Pont D’Arc natural stone arch and underneath the 2000 year old Roman Aqueduct,  Pont du Gard.

The Gardon, Ceze and Chassezac are calm rivers with easy paddling through beautiful scenery. The Ardeche provides a little more excitement with Class 2 and 3 rapids. These rapids are short however and the river provides plenty of easy water between them.

In-between the canoeing days we shall hike on the parts of the long-distance trail known as the GR70 – the famous Robert Louis Stevenson Trail. The author walked this way more than 100 years ago to see for himself how the Hugenots (Protestants) survived in a largely Catholic country. The walk is renowned for the difficulty he experienced in dealing with his donkey ‘Modestine’ and features in ‘Travels with my Donkey in the Cevennes‘.

Of course throughout we shall stay at remote and beautiful places and enjoy the regional cuisine and the local wines.

A highlight of the trip will be to visit the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave. It is a cave that contains the earliest known and best preserved figurative cave paintings in the world, as well as other evidence of Upper Paleolithic life.

Full trip details are here. Brochure here.

These are our scheduled dates for this season, but if you are a group of 4 or more you can choose your own dates and we will do our best to fit you in.

Ardeche8Days

Here are some images from the tour.

Inn to Inn Guided Canoe trips, Ardeche, FranceGRC_2015NewsletterFooter

Take Me To The River

A Series of 12 Posters

A Green River Canoes Poster: http://goo.gl/GRZBSF © Steven R House 2014

A sequence of posters using the same background, road, minibus and trailer used to depict our journey to the river. The flat style is used because the elements are drawn on Photoshop in preparation for animating.

A3_2016_HPoster_Parallax02

Starting with a simple depiction of rolling hills and woods.

A3_2016_HPoster_Parallax03

And travelling past a big city on the way to the countryside.

A3_2016_HPoster_Parallax04

And somehow crossing a mysterious desert.

A3_2016_HPoster_Parallax05

Before passing a river with cafes and cliffs.

A3_2016_HPoster_Parallax06

Until finally reaching our first river as we cross a wonderful viaduct.

A3_2016_HPoster_Parallax07

Next we cross the famous Millau Viaduct and the Tarn river.

A3_2016_HPoster_Parallax08

Before reaching the Pont D’Arc on the Ardeche river.

A3_2016_HPoster_Parallax09

And then the Tarn Gorge.

A3_2016_HPoster_Parallax10

And another gorge which strangely has the Bixby Creek bridge over it.

A3_2016_HPoster_Parallax11

And we reach the castle at Beynac on the Dordogne river.

A3_2016_HPoster_Parallax12

Before reaching a rather generic countryside and Suspension bridge.

Time to get on the water I should think.

A Trip to the Ardeche in May 2015 (Part 6)

A visit to the Chartreuse de Valbonne and Uzes

At the Chartreuse de Valbonne, a former monastery, Gard, France

At the Chartreuse de Valbonne, a former monastery, Gard, France

Today was the last day of our trip and we had to return our guests to Avignon by late afternoon.

We decided to spend the morning at the old monastery at the Chartreuse de Valbonne, where we wandered around the buildings and gardens and enjoyed some strange musical sculptures and thought about how the building had been used in the past, both as a monastery and then as a hospital for leprosy sufferers.

Ed at the Chartreuse de Valbonne, a former monastery, Gard, France

Ed at the Chartreuse de Valbonne, a former monastery, Gard, France

Light & sound sculptures at the Chartreuse de Valbonne, a former monastery, Gard, France

Light & sound sculptures at the Chartreuse de Valbonne, a former monastery, Gard, France

At the Chartreuse de Valbonne, a former monastery, Gard, France

At the Chartreuse de Valbonne, a former monastery, Gard, France

At the Chartreuse de Valbonne, a former monastery, Gard, France

At the Chartreuse de Valbonne, a former monastery, Gard, France

At the Chartreuse de Valbonne, a former monastery, Gard, France

At the Chartreuse de Valbonne, a former monastery, Gard, France

At the Chartreuse de Valbonne, a former monastery, Gard, France

At the Chartreuse de Valbonne, a former monastery, Gard, France

At the Chartreuse de Valbonne, a former monastery, Gard, France

At the Chartreuse de Valbonne, a former monastery, Gard, France

At the Chartreuse de Valbonne, a former monastery, Gard, France

At the Chartreuse de Valbonne, a former monastery, Gard, France

At the Chartreuse de Valbonne, a former monastery, Gard, France

At the Chartreuse de Valbonne, a former monastery, Gard, France

To finish off our trip we drove to Uzes for a spot of lunch and a look around.

At Uzes, Gard, France

At Uzes, Gard, France

At Uzes, Gard, France

At Uzes, Gard, France

Altogether a fine trip. Enjoyable times & great company.

At Uzes, Gard, France

At Uzes, Gard, France

A Trip to the Ardeche in May 2015 (Part 5)

A Paddle through the Chassezac River Gorge

On the Chassezac river, Gard, France

On the Chassezac river, Gard, France

Today we drove back to the Chassezac river to find out if the conditions were any better for canoeing. They were. The river had risen a little bit and we wasted little time in getting ourselves on the river and away. Ed had decided to use his collapsible canoe again today and this proved a lot better for his comfort. I paddled tandem with Vonda and we had a great time on the river – and only wobbled once seriously as we came through a bumpy & rocky section.

Ed and Wayne & Melissa on the Chassezac river, Gard, France

Ed and Wayne & Melissa on the Chassezac river, Gard, France

Ed and Wayne & Melissa on the Chassezac river, Gard, France

Ed and Wayne & Melissa on the Chassezac river, Gard, France

The Chassezac river, Gard, France

The Chassezac river, Gard, France

Ed, Melissa, Wayne and Vonda taking a break on the Chassezac river, Gard, France

Ed, Melissa, Wayne and Vonda taking a break on the Chassezac river, Gard, France

We meandered gently downstream past the spectacular cliffs and rocks and watched some climbers and abseilers at a couple of places.

Ed, on the Chassezac river, Gard, France

Ed, on the Chassezac river, Gard, France

Wayne & Melissa on the Chassezac river, Gard, France

Wayne & Melissa on the Chassezac river, Gard, France

Ed and Melissa & Wayne, on the Chassezac river, Gard, France

Ed and Melissa & Wayne, on the Chassezac river, Gard, France

On the Chassezac river, Gard, France

On the Chassezac river, Gard, France

On the Chassezac river, Gard, France

On the Chassezac river, Gard, France

On the Chassezac river, Gard, France

On the Chassezac river, Gard, France

Eventually we came to the end of our canoeing at the Chaulet Beach where Steve was waiting for us and where he had our lunch ready in the shade.

On the Chassezac river, Gard, France

On the Chassezac river, Gard, France

On the way home we stopped at a viewpoint to gaze over the Cevenne Mountains in the distance.

Looking towards the Cevenne Mountains from a lookout on the road, Gard, France

Looking towards the Cevenne Mountains from a lookout on the road, Gard, France

A Trip to the Ardeche in May 2015 (Part 4)

Paddling through the Pont D’Arc

Melissa & Wayne and Ed & Vonda, under the Pont D'Arc on the Ardeche river, Ardeche, France

Melissa & Wayne and Ed & Vonda, under the Pont D’Arc on the Ardeche river, Ardeche, France

Today we tackled the Ardeche river as it flows underneath the famous natural rock arch at Pont D’Arc and flows on down through the Ardeche Gorge.

We made an early start on the river 6km above the Pont D’Arc and tackled the rapids before reaching the arch. The river was quite low so many of the rapids had turned into rock fields. Wayne & Melissa became at one rapid and tipped out. They were fine as they swam to the nearest beach but the boat rescue and our safety was hampered by a woodcutting crew who were dealing with a fallen tree close by. Ed & Vonda helped me retrieve the canoe and we managed a T-rescue mid-stream before getting back on board and on our way.

Vonda & Ed and Melissa & Wayne, on the Ardeche river, Ardeche, France

Vonda & Ed and Melissa & Wayne, on the Ardeche river, Ardeche, France

Vonda & Ed, on the Ardeche river, Ardeche, France

Vonda & Ed, on the Ardeche river, Ardeche, France

By the time we had paddled through the arch and down to Charme it had become apparent that the day was going to get too long, too technical and too demanding. After a brief discussion we decided to leave the Ardeche and paddle the Ceze river in the afternoon instead. Steve was right there with the van so it didn’t take too long to get organised.

Vonda on the Ardeche river, Ardeche, France

Vonda on the Ardeche river, Ardeche, France

An hour later we turned up at Goudargues and got the boats organised before the short drive upstream to Montclus and the put-in. It was time for lunch however and whilst everyone wandered around the pretty village we got a picnic set up in the small play park where we shared a table with some French cyclists. It turned out very friendly indeed.

The bridge at Montclus, Gard, France

The bridge at Montclus, Gard, France

A walk around the village of Montclus, Gard, France

A walk around the village of Montclus, Gard, France

A walk around the village of Montclus, Gard, France

A walk around the village of Montclus, Gard, France

After lunch we got going on the paddle but then realised that the type of canoe was not comfortable for Ed. He decided to abandon canoeing for the day, which was disappointing, but the rest of us continued.

Melissa & Wayne taking a break at the mill on the Ceze river, Gard, France

Melissa & Wayne taking a break at the mill on the Ceze river, Gard, France

Inbetween the weirs on the Ceze river, Gard, France

Inbetween the weirs on the Ceze river, Gard, France

On the Ceze river, Gard, France

On the Ceze river, Gard, France

When we were between two weirs, where we had to manhandle the boats, we came across a mother & child who had discovered a turtle in the river. These are not native and must have been introduced or escaped.

A red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) on the Ceze river, Gard, France. This is a non-native invasive species.

A red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) on the Ceze river, Gard, France. This is a non-native invasive species.

After resting for a while and cooling off in the river we continued on our way downstream until we heard a massive racket in the trees above our heads and noticed that we were underneath a Heronry. The young herons made a lot f noise when the parents turned up to feed them!

Melissa & Wayne at the Heronry on the Ceze river, Gard, France

Melissa & Wayne at the Heronry on the Ceze river, Gard, France

Not long after that we arrived at Goudargues where Steve & Ed were waiting for us.

Vonda on the Ceze river, Gard, France

Vonda on the Ceze river, Gard, France

At the end of the afternoon we visited the pretty cliff-top village of Aigueze before having dinner in St. Martins and a drive up the Ardeche Gorge road.

Playing Boule (or Petanque) in the village of Aigueze, Gard, France

Playing Boule (or Petanque) in the village of Aigueze, Gard, France

The decorated church at Aigueze, Gard, France

The decorated church at Aigueze, Gard, France

The church at Aigueze, Gard, France

The church at Aigueze, Gard, France

A Trip to the Ardeche in May 2015 (Part 3)

40,000 Year old Cave Paintings at the Spectacular Chauvet Cave

The Chauvet Cave in the Ardeche, Frnace

The Chauvet Cave in the Ardeche, France

On the third morning we drove up to Vallon Pont D’Arc and beyond to find the new Chauvet Cave exhibition centre built in the hills just outside of town. Here they have built a replica of the cave found in 1994 which contains the oldest cave paintings ever discovered. To proteect the original paintings from the ravages of the atmosphere this exact replica has been built. We spend the whole morning inside this cave being shown the paintings by a knowledgeable guide. We are astonished at the artistry and skill of our Cro-Magnon forebears.

Inside the museum at the Chauvet cave, Ardeche, France

Inside the museum at the Chauvet cave, Ardeche, France

Inside the museum at the Chauvet cave, Ardeche, France

Inside the museum at the Chauvet cave, Ardeche, France

Inside the museum at the Chauvet cave, Ardeche, France

Inside the museum at the Chauvet cave, Ardeche, France

Inside the museum at the Chauvet cave, Ardeche, France

Inside the museum at the Chauvet cave, Ardeche, France

Of course we are not allowed to take photographs inside the cave and these shots are from the screens inside the museum at the same site. They do not convey at all how fabulous the actual paintings are.

Spending all morning at the Chauvet Cave was well worth the visit. I’d recommend it to anyone.

In the afternoon we visited the villages of Balazuc, where we had lunch in a very wind cafe.

At the village of Balazuc, Gard, France

At the village of Balazuc, Gard, France

At the village of Balazuc, Gard, France

At the village of Balazuc, Gard, France

Later we visited the pretty village of Labeaume as well.

At the village of Labeaume, Gard, France

At the village of Labeaume, Gard, France

At the village of Labeaume, Gard, France

At the village of Labeaume, Gard, France

At the village of Labeaume, Gard, France

At the village of Labeaume, Gard, France