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There are a large number of rafting and canoeing companies based in Castellane (thirty minutes drive from Les Basses Beaumettes), making trips down the well-known Verdon Gorge a popular option.

On Tuesdays and Fridays the local dam releases water giving a descent flow of water down a river which due to the high summer temperatures, would not normally have enough water in it for water sports. The local canoeing and rafting companies use a wide variety of rivers - both the upper and lower Verdon and the less well-known Gorges Cians and Daluis (see photo opposite) with their fantastic red rock formations. The use of the other rivers makes water sports an option seven days a week.

 

There are lots of different options from rafts and canoes, including one and two person canoes and kayaks, and a peculiar rubber-ring which they call "le tubbing".  Aqua rando is also popular and involves walking and swimming down the river with flippers and a float. With all of the above you descend the river for a morning or afternoon and are then brought back to Castellane by mini bus afterwards. A full list of local companies and their websites is listed below.

Regardless of your choice of craft, the spectacular scenery, beautiful green water and exciting rapids will leave a memorable impression. There are usually plenty of options for swimming on the way. The only equipment you need to bring with you is a swimsuit, towel and old trainers as the banks of the river are rather pebbly.

 

 

 

Websites of companies based in Castellane (30 mins drive):

Based at La Colle Sur Loup

It goes without saying that there are many many more possibilities for doing your own thing. For those who want to bring their own canoes to explore the local rivers, Simon Dawson has some photos of a trip down the Verdon Gorge here.

 

 

 

The Gorge du Daluis is great for canoeing too and has the advantage that it is much quieter than the Verdon. A memorable paddle takes in the medieval town of Entrevaux as you try and stay upright going under the arched bridge spanning the Var river connecting Entrevaux to the the road, tourists watch and hopefully admire your canoeing skills.

 

 

 

Other Water sports

Nearby Lac de Castillon (30 mins drive) with its stunning turquoise water is worth visiting just to see that water that colour really does exist. In 1948 the valley was flooded when the dam was built to ensure that this area would always have an adequate electricity supply. Sadly when the valley was flooded, the old village of Castillon (hence the name of the lake) was one of the main casualties.

Sirocco Beach. At Lac de Castillon you can hire canoes and pedalos at Sirocco beach five minutes from Castellane - open June to mid September. It is worth bearing in mind that if you hire a canoe here you can only paddle up as far as the dam and not beyond as due to the diving centre and dam, this is a restricted zone. Sirocco is a great place to try the relatively new sport of stand up paddling. As the name suggests you stand on a board and paddle. It just looks SO easy - until you have a go! You can hire all the equipment at Sirocco. Sirocco is also a safe place to swim and a great spot for sun worshippers, with sun loungers for hire and a small restaurant. It is a good idea to pack an old pair of trainers for going in swimming.

St Julien du Verdon. Further up the lake (20 minutes from Les Basses Beaumettes), there are also canoes, pedalos, and motor boats for hire at the Base Nautique at St Julien du Verdon where you can have sailing and water skiing lessons. St Julien is an excellent starting point to explore the lake. You can easily paddle from the dam all the way up to St Andre. See prices in the table below. Or if you're not the sporty type, why not just take a picnic and sit on the beach, sipping a glass of wine watching the world go by under a blue cloudless sky.

 

 

1 heure

2 heures

4 heures

Forfait 8 heures

Catamaran

25

45

80

140

Dériveur 4,20 m

25

45

80

140

ZEF (dériveur 3,70m)

20

30

45

80

Planche à voile gonflable

10

20

35

60

Planche à voile

15

30

45

80

Stand Up Paddle

10

20

35

60

 

St Andre. At the top end of the lake there is another beach at St Andre if you need a change of sunbathing venue.

Closer to home, in St Auban, you can sit and sunbathe by the river which goes through the Clue de St Auban.

The nearest swimming pool is at the campsite in St Auban and entry is free! The nearest big swimming pool is in Castellane (thirty minutes drive).