WE HAVE TESTED FOR YOU Descent of the Gardon with kayak, natural palindrome

Roach. Collias – Pont-du-Gard, kayak descent (Photo Yannick Pons)

Every Saturday morning, Guard goal takes you to the four corners of the Gard to discover emblematic or, on the contrary, little-known activities. But always original and authentic. This week on the way to Gardon.

We boarded a green kayak, but we could also have chosen Canoë-Collias, Viking Bateaux or Le Tourbillon. Le Kayak vert has been around for more than 40 years. The company was bought in 2011 by Benjamin Armand, the current owner. If the water level was our main concern, doubts were quickly dispelled: there is water! The rental companies hope that the season will last until the end of September, but it depends on the rain. “Bookings are up about 30% in June compared to the last three years, but down 40% in July, which is struggling to get going. The tourists are there, but they’re not eating much”launches Anthony, the manager of Green Kayak.

A tailored descent

Our customized descent (multiple route options) was booked online at 9:30 on a Sunday for €24 per person. We landed in Collias, in the public car park near the bridge. It will cost you about 3 euros for about 5 hours between 9:30 and 14:30. A hundred meters on foot below, under the Collias bridge, teems the green kayak hut, it is here. We are given an airtight container to protect our personal belongings. We pick up paddles, head for the water’s edge where Romain is waiting for us and quickly explains the safety instructions and then gives us life jackets.

Romain departing from the Collias bridge (Photo Yannick Pons)

We choose our boat, safely stow the airtight container and set off for about two hours of gliding to Pont du Gard and a bit more to reach the landing stage further on.

The descent is very easy, no need to be a professional paddler. Alone, in pairs, in threes, with the family, whoever sits in the back steers the boat. That left for three hours of happiness. You need a hat, sunscreen, drinking water and pull hard in the direction of the current.

Ambre, Sandrine and Nicolas, Gardois met on the water (Photo Yannick Pons)

The trip consists of an alternation between smooth sliding, very small rapids, rock stops, swimming and encounters. First break on a small rock to take a dip in a lagoon. A hundred meters down, the carousel of two red dragonflies draws our attention to the river’s edge.

Roach. The first loves of scarlet dragonflies (Photo Yannick Pons)

We approach quietly in a kayak without scaring the inhabitants, and enjoy the spectacle of nature along the entire descent. Little refreshment of the feet on a pebble beach, then we are off again on other wild adventures.

A heron fishing on the coast (Photo Yannick Pons)

On the edge of the bank, a heron in the middle of a fishing ritual. A little further down, a cane bears its offspring.

Gordon. A stick walks its young (Photo Yannick Pons)

Even lower, a sandy beach catches the eye. This is where we will have a picnic before continuing our descent. And suddenly, around a bend, Pont-du-Gard appears majestically.

Pont-du-Gard appears majestically at the turn of a bend (Photo Yannick Pons)

Here you have to be careful and slalom between swimmers, buoys and rubber boats. Enjoy the view from under the bridge for a few seconds, unique! Before going to the landing stage, half an hour below. Everyone goes down.

The view from below of Pont-du-Gard, unique! (Photo Yannick Pons)

The landing stage is well signposted, this is where it all ends. The staff will welcome you and your kayak will end up with the others, stacked on a trailer. For you, it is the direction of the parking lot with the shuttle.

Your kayak ends up with the others on a trailer (Photo Yannick Pons)

Return to start “kase”. Beyond the word kayak, a very simple palindrome, you come full circle with this shuttle, which brings you back to your vehicle. The bed of the Gardon will not dry out and the route will remain open all summer as springs upstream from Collias feed this part of the river. You can now go home, or rent an electric bike from Vélo Nature Collias, here.

Yannick Pons

Other information :

The Gardon is a class 1 river that can be navigated from the age of 6. You must be able to swim 25 meters, know how to immerse yourself, not be pregnant and be in good physical shape to get on the kayak. The difference between a kayak and a canoe is the position of the rower. In a kayak you sit at the bottom of the boat with your legs outstretched, while in a canoe the rower is placed on his knees and his legs are bent backwards. On the other hand, kayaking is practiced with a double paddle, while in canoeing it is a single paddle, which the rower uses when it suits him, to the right or left of his boat.

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