Are you looking for a holiday filled with adventure and outdoor activities? Would you like to try some new, exciting things? The beautiful soft countryside of the South of France often makes us think of this area of the world as sleepy and slow-paced.
And that is certainly true in lots of ways, but it is also an incredible area for activity and adventure holidays. The spectacular landscape doesn’t just mean lavender fields and historic villages, it also has mountains, rivers, canyons and boulders.
Perfect for families, couples and solo travellers who want to get outside and try rock climbing, horse riding or canoeing!
Here are few of our suggestions for an action-packed holiday at Les Beaux Chênes in La Drôme:
Rock climbing in La Drome
I bet you hadn’t thought of the South of France and La Drôme as a good place for rock climbing! That’s because most visitors to the region forget about the huge and beautiful Vercors Regional Park less than an hour’s drive from Les Beaux Chênes.
The Vercors is a part of the prealps and the largest plateau in France, so it’s full of climbing opportunities of all types and for all levels. For more experienced climbers, there are climbing areas in Presles, Gerbier, Les Trois Pucelle, and Mont Aiguille. If you are an intermediate or novice climber there are smaller crags like Corrençon, Furon at Lans-en-Vercors, and Combeauvieux.
If you are a complete beginner, you can learn the basics at one of the excellent climbing schools based in the mountain village of Villard de Lans. This is also a great place to find a guide if you’d just like someone to take you out and show you the best routes and wall climbs. Check for more information here. For some great advice on the best climbing sites, the region and a climbers’ forum, we recommend checking out The Mountain Project.
There is no better way to see the incredible provencal countryside than on a horse. Not only is horse trekking one of the best ways to see a large span of the area easily, it is a fantastically relaxing way to spend the day with your family, your partner or alone, if you are travelling solo. It’s also a great way to meet some new people, as you quickly feel bonded to your group as you travel together through fields, along rivers and up hillsides paths.
The Drôme à Cheval (La Drôme by horse) is a great website and local instution that organises regular horse treks and offers lots of really useful information about the different types of treks in the area. There is something for everyone and you don’t need to have ever ridden a horse before to book a trek. The guides are all professional horse riders and teachers, who will help you to feel comfortable on your trusty steed! And if you haven’t ridden a horse for a while… don’t worry, it’s just like riding a bike!
If you’re looking for a real adventure and a challenge then canyoning is our top tip. If you’ve never been canyoning, or maybe never even heard of it then it may help to know that it’s also sometimes called aquatic hiking, which gives you a little bit of an idea as to what it is!
More precisely, canyoning is travelling through canyons along rivers using a range of techniques including walking, scrambling (that is a technical term!), climbing, jumping, abseiling and even swimming!
There is nothing quite like exploring the ravines and rivers of the Vercors in a team, trying to find the best route through rocks, forest paths and small rapids. You will discover remarkable hidden gorges, use the rocks as natural slides, wade through crystal clear streams and hike through beautiful countryside. And that’s not even the most thrilling part! In some sections of your hike, you get to abseil down rock faces and waterfalls! Your guides will talk you through all the details, set you up with a harness and demonstrate. Then it’s over to you to rappel down like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible!
With a good guide, you’ll enjoy every second and see parts of the Saou forest that most visitors never lay eyes on. Spelcanya Adventure has several different canyoning routes for different experience and fitness levels, you can have a look at their website here.
Photo from Spelcanya Adventure