This is an 7 Night, 8 Day tour in which we canoe on the Tarn in the Tarn region of south-east France. We explore the Gorges and Mountains of both the Tarn and the Causse and visit beautiful villages and hike stunning trails.
Fabulous canoeing through the deep Tarn Gorge and the Dourbies tributary.
Visit beautiful villages along the way, including the 'lost' village of Hauterives.
- Fully guided whilst on the river & trail
- Full minibus support throughout
- Includes all accommodations
- Includes breakfasts, lunches and evening meals
- Hike through the Chaos Montpelier
- Paddle the beautifully clear Tarn river
- Hike on the Tarn Causse
Day 1. Arrival and Greetings
You will be met at the TGV station at Montpelier sometime around midday.
Alternative arrangements can be made for arrivals, such as at regional airports, by prior arrangement.
The drive to St. Chely takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes. We will stop on the way for a picnic lunch, get to know each other and go over the trip together. We will stay in the Auberge de la Cascade in this lovely village.
Day 2. The first day in the Tarn Gorge
After a short upstream drive to Montbrun we will begin our first day on the beautiful Tarn river. We will paddle all the way back to Saint-Chély-du-Tarn, making sure that we stop for a look around the lovely village of St. Enimie. This is an absolutely stunning river to paddle. The river is crystal clear and runs in a fabulously deep gorge in remote country-side.
Tonight we will stay again in the Auberge de la Cascade in the outstandingly beautiful village of Saint-Chély-du-Tarn. We will be able to walk up from the river beach to our hotel.
Day 3. The Second Day on the Tarn
After a leisurely breakfast we stroll down to the beach underneath the bridge in the village and prepare for another beautiful days canoeing on the Tarn. This section is just as beautiful as yesterday and we will pass some lovely spots including the village of Hauterives, an isolated village only reachable by river and the delightful village of La Malène. The river squeezes through the famous Detroits (narrows) on our way to Les Baumes Basse where we finish for the day.
We are again staying at the Auberge de la Cascade.
Day 4. The Third Day on the Tarn
A short drive will take us to where we will begin our third day on the Tarn. We will canoe from Les Vignes to Rivière-sur-Tarn along a section of river which is just as dramatic visually as the first two days but a little more bumpy. We will have to concentrate as we ride the Class 2 and 3 rapids as we admire the gorge scenery around us.
We change accommodation today as we move to the Domaine de la Cardabelle in the village of Rivière-sur-Tarn.
Day 5. A hike along the Gorge or on top of the Causse
Today is a hiking day as we explore the Gorge from a different angle, but actually hiking inside the Gorge, or along its rim or indeed on the plateau (Causse) above. We'll sit down with the maps and figure out what kind of hike we would like and perhaps try and fit in a wild swim as well.
Day 6. A Hike on the Chaos de Montpelier
A 35 minute drive we see us arrive at the small village of La Roque St. Marguerite where we will begin our hike up to the Chaos de Montpelier a truly strange outcrop of rocks which have been eroded into exotic shapes. In the USA these shapes are known as Hoodoos. We will spend several hours wandering numerous trails around this area and experience the fabulous views over the plateau and the gorge. A short drive will return us to our hotel.
Day 7. Last paddling day
Today we will drive up the Tarn tributary called the Dourbies and paddle downstream to the confluence of the Tarn at Millau. We will then continue downstream on the Tarn itself, perhaps going through the artificial rapids on the left of an island, before passing underneath the famous Millau Viaduct which soars 200m above us, before we finish at the village of Peyres.
Day 8. Departure and Farewells
When we have breakfasted and have packed and ready we will drive to the TGV station at Montpellier for our return to Paris and beyond. The drive is about 1 hour and 40 minutes
Extra Day: Before - A paddle on the Herault river
With an early start from Montpellier we drive to Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert and upstream to the canoe base. (about 1hr).
We canoe from further upstream at Causse-de-la-Selle (10min drive) back to the base on the Hérault river after our picnic lunch on the the river-bank. It's a picturesque paddle.
Afterwards it's a 2hr drive to Saint-Chély-du-Tarn.
Extra Day: After - A paddle on the Orb river
After our last paddle on the Dourbies/Tarn we drive to Roquebrun (2hrs) for two nights in the village. We'll probably stay at Les Tiers (a self-catering house overlooking the Orb river). Dinner will be in a restaurant in the village.
The next morning we will drive upstream to Tarrasac to begin our paddle back to the village along the lovely Orb river. It can be a bit bouncy depending on water-flows and it will add an exciting end to our canoeing tour. We will picnic somewhere along the route.
We will stay another night in the village and drive to Montpellier in the morning after breakfast for our departures (1hr30mins).
For the first four nights we are at the Auberge de la Cascade in Saint-Chély-du-Tarn. The hotel is almost the whole of this tiny village which sits besides the Tarn over a single-lane bridge, on a bend in the river under huge cliffs.
The village has a church and a remarkable tiny chapel snuggled underneath a cave in the cliff.
The hotel has a small pool for our use and we shall dine in its lovely restaurant overlooking the square.
- In a tiny secluded village all by itself
- Right on the river, with a swimming beach
- Access to the gorge rim hiking trails
- Visit a fascinating shop selling local hand-made jewellery
- See a tributary stream flowing into the Tarn via a waterfall
- Spectacularly picturesque in its gorge setting
For the last three nights we stay at the Chambre D'Hotes de Domaine de la Cardabelle in Rivière sur Tarn. This lovely place is a short walk from the river and nestles in the gorge with steeply rising vineyards behind and the village nearby.
We have a swimming pool to use and an array of games including table-tennis and petanque.
On one of the evenings we stay here we shall drive the short distance to Millau for an explore and for dinner.
- 5 minutes walk from the river-bank
- Family run Chambre D'hôte with vineyard
- Immediate access to hiking trails: visit the Château de Peyrelade or the Piédestal De Fontaneilles
- Tour the family winery and vineyard
- Close to small village with shops and cafes
- Beautiful location with stunning views