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This brochure is provided by Green River Canoes Ltd and details some of the Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoe Trips described on the website at www.greenrivercanoes.com . You can also reach us at: https://www.facebook.com/greenrivercanoes https://twitter.com/canoegreenriver For any questions please email us at info@greenrivercanoes.com or use the form at http://greenrivercanoes.com/contact-us You can subscribe to our infrequent newsletter to receive news of new trips, schedules and offers. Steven House


“Contents Green River Canoes

4

Introduction

6

12 Day Ardeche and Tarn Trip

9

8 Day Ardeche Trip

24

6 Day Tarn Trip

25

Where We Stay

26

What we see

33

Canoeing

34

Hiking

36

Wildlife

38

Maps and Books

41


Green River Canoes We provide Inn-to-Inn Guided Canoeing Trips on beautiful calm green rivers in the Ardeche and Tarn regions of the South of France. This brochure describes the following trips: 12 Days in the Ardeche & Tarn, 8 Days in the Ardeche, and 6 Days on the Tarn with canoeing on the Gardon, the Ceze, the Chassezac, the Tarn and the Ardeche rivers. All our trips are guided. Our guests will be accompanied on the river and trail by an experienced guide who knows the area and rivers well. Our other guide will accompany us in the background by driving our vehicle between lodgings. When necessary this vehicle will be transferring our luggage, meeting us for lunch and generally being available as and when needed.


All the accommodation on our trips is in small local Hotels, Chambre D'Hotes or B&Bs: All our trip prices include transfers, canoe hire, accommodation (with breakfasts) all lunches and all evening meals. Trips come in two sizes: with up to 7 guests we will have 2 guides and with between 8 and 14 guests we will have 3 guides (2 on the river & trail). Larger groups can be accommodated by request.


Introduction Take your time in examining the summary page for each trip and then look at the day-to-day schedule and the description of the hotels we use. This should give you a good idea of what to expect from each trip. The Prices and Dates page is self explanatory and the Details and Queries page may also answer some of the more technical questions you might have. If you have further questions then please do not hesitate to contact us, we are only to happy to help. In particular if the dates we've scheduled don't fit your requirements or you would like to change the schedule in some way then we will do our best to help you.


If you are a group of 4 or more then we are also happy to arrange a private trip for you. Just provide us with the dates you would like, the trip your are interested in (with any schedule changes you require) and we will do our utmost to provide it. Although our regular and scheduled trips have a maximum of 14 guests and 3 guides, larger groups can be accommodated with private and custom trips.


12 Day Ardeche And Tarn Trip On this trip we canoe on the Gardon, the Ceze, the Chassezac and the Ardeche rivers in the Ardeche region and on the Tarn river in the Tarn region of south-east France. We shall explore the Gorges and Mountains of both the Ardeche and the Cevennes which are still relatively remote, even to this day. The rivers in the Ardeche flow eastwards towards the Rhone river which itself then flows south to the Mediterranean. The Chassezac is a tributary of the Ardeche. Each of these rivers in the Ardeche flow through deep and dramatic gorges in limestone country. 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. When we cross over to the Tarn we canoe in a river which flows westwards towards the Atlantic. The Tarn also flows through a dramatic limestone gorge and is famously known for its beautifully clear and green waters. The first two days on this river provide easy paddling whilst the third day provides more excitement with some rapids to contend with. 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'.  


We shall also walk through the peculiar region called the 'Chaos of Montpelier', which has been eroded into many curious geological shapes. Of course throughout we shall stay at remote and beautiful places and enjoy the regional cuisine and the local wines.


Day to Day Schedule Day 1. Arrival, first meeting and first canoe. You will be met at the TGV station at Avignon sometime around midday. Alternative arrangements can be made for arrivals, such as at regional airports, by prior arrangement. The drive to Collias takes about  40 minutes. We will stop here for a picnic lunch, get to know each other and go over the trip together. We will then do a 2 hour canoe on the Gardon River which will finish as we pass underneath the famous Pont du Gard, a UNESCO Heritage Roman Aqueduct which is almost 2000 years old. We will then have a 50 minute drive to our accommodation at Le Prieure   d’Orniols in the charming tiny hamlet of La Bastide just outside Goudargues. On our arrival we will be met by our hosts Olivier and Grace.


Day 2. A paddle on the Ceze. Today we will paddle the Ceze river from Montclus back to Goudargues. We will have time to visit the walled village of Montclus first before starting our paddle downstream. The river passes by some beautiful cliffs as it meanders back towards the village which we will also have time to visit afterwards. The village was once a famous spa town and retains some interesting small canals. If time allows we can visit the village of La Roque-sur-Ceze and the local Falls. We remain at the  Le Prieure d’Orniols tonight.


Day 3. Canoeing the Chassezac Gorge We will canoe a stretch of the Chassezac River today starting at the Iron Bridge and going onto Chaulet a trip of about 3 hours. The river meanders wildly through a very deep gorge with some beautiful beaches just ripe for a picnic lunch and some swimming. Late in the day we will take a hike along the rim of the gorge and look down on where we were previously. Tonight we will stay at the former convent at Le Carmel, Les Vans, just a very short drive away.


Day 4. Hiking the Robert Louis Stevenson Trail In the morning we will have an hours drive to Les Bleynard where we will start our hike on the GR70 (Robert Louis Stevenson Trail) over Mont Lozere to the Pont de Montvert; about 12 miles. The walk will offer us splendid views over this remote region of France called the Cevennes. An alternative is to hike over the Signal de Ventalon and hike directly to our accommodation. Afterwards its a 45 drive to where we stay at a remote farmhouse in the Cevennes at Le Cauvel.


Day 5. Another day of hiking on the Stevenson Trail  After breakfast we will walk out onto the GR70 and continue our way on the Stevenson Trail down to St Germain-de-Calberte. If we have the energy then our afternoon hike will take us along the Corniche de Cevennes which looks down the Gorge of the Tarnon River. Both of these hikes offer exceptional views over the Cevennes mountains and we will pass ancient Sepulcres, Dolmens and Standing Stones too. Tonight we will stay at Le Cauvel again.


Day 6. The first day in the Tarn Gorge After a 45 minute drive to Montbrun we will begin our first day on the beautiful Tarn river. We will paddle all the way to St. Chely-duTarn, 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 in the   Auberge de la Cascade in the outstandingly beautiful village of St. Chely-du-Tarn. We will be able to walk up from the river beach to our hotel.


Day 7. 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 Malene. 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 8. The Final Day on the Tarn A short drive will take us down-river to where we will begin our final day on the Tarn. We will canoe from Les Vignes to Le Rozier 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. Once again we will be able to walk to our hotel which is the Doussier.


Day 9. 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 rather longer drive, of about 90 minutes, will take us across the bleak plateau landscape, known as the Cause Noir back to the Cevennes and the farmhouse at Le Cauvel.


Day 10. First Day on the Ardeche River After a 2 hour drive to Balazuc on the section of the Ardeche called the Defiles we will prepare ourselves for our introduction to the exciting Ardeche river. On this first part we will canoe through some small Class 2 rapids and riffles and pass some exotic cliffs and pretty villages. Like yesterday we will have to be on our toes as we negotiate some boulder fields in-between some calmer stretches of the river. If we are not sated by that section then, after a short drive downstream to Vallon Pont D'Arc, we can paddle a short but interesting section of the river which takes us to a beach near our hotel. This section begins at the head of the famous Gorge de L'Ardeche and takes us canoeing through the legendary Pont D'Arc, a natural stone arch through which the river flows. This


section will give us an idea for the spills and thrills to come on our next day on the Ardeche. A short walk (or drive) will take us to our lodgings at the Hotel Belved which is also in the Gorge.

Day 11. Canoeing the Gorge L'Ardeche Today is the big day when we canoe through the fabulous Gorge L'Ardeche. The Gorge is deep, the river is remote, and the rapids are exciting. Between sections of the river where you can admire the fantastic scenery are Class 2 and Class 3 rapids to grab your attention. Most of them are short and sweet and several of them can easily be run several times if you are in the mood.


This really is a wonderful stretch of river and we will take all day to enjoy it with a sumptuous beach picnic half-way through the long day. When we are finished we will go for a beer or an ice-cream in the beautiful village of Aigueze which overlooks the final stretch of our days paddling. It is then a short drive to re-visit Olivier and Grace at Le Prieure d’Orniols where it all began.

Day 12. Departure and Farewells When we are ready we will drive for an hour to the TGV station at Avignon for our return to Paris and beyond. If time allows, if say the train departure is after midday, then we can visit the old monastery at Chartreuse de Valbonne or the waterfalls at La Roque-sur-Ceze. Or indeed we could spend part of the day in Avignon itself.


8 Day Ardeche Trip This trip removes 4 days from the 12 Day trip described in the previous chapter - Days 6, 7, 8 and 9. Otherwise the itinerary is the same. The whole trip is described fully on our website with a complete schedule, map, details of hotels and our current prices and schedules. You can see many photographs there too. On this trip we canoe on the Gardon, the Ceze, the Chassezac and the Ardeche rivers in the Ardeche region of south-east France. We shall explore the Gorges and Mountains of both the Ardeche and the Cevennes which are still relatively remote, even to this day. The rivers in the Ardeche flow eastwards towards the Rhone river which itself then flows south to the Mediterranean. The Chassezac is a tributary of the Ardeche. Each of these rivers in the Ardeche flow through deep and dramatic gorges in limestone country. 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'. Of course throughout we shall stay at remote and beautiful places and enjoy the regional cuisine and the local wines.


6 Day Tarn Trip This trip concentrates on the Tarn days on 12 Day trip described in the previous chapter - Days 6, 7, 8 and 9. With an arrival day and a departure day. The whole trip is described fully on our website with a complete schedule, map, details of hotels and our current prices and schedules. You can see many photographs there too. On this trip we plan to arrive and depart via the TGV Railway Station at Montpelier. When we are on the Tarn we canoe in a river which flows westwards towards the Atlantic. The Tarn flows through a dramatic limestone gorge and is famously known for its beautifully clear and green waters. The first two days on this river provide easy paddling whilst the third day provides more excitement with some rapids to contend with. We shall also walk through the peculiar region called the 'Chaos of Montpelier', which has been eroded into many curious geological shapes. Of course throughout we shall stay at remote and beautiful places and enjoy the regional cuisine and the local wines.


Where We Stay Le Prieure  d’Orniols For the first two nights, and for our last night, we are at the Le Prieure d'Orniols just outside the village of Goudargues. Situated besides a small castle. Olivier and Grace will welcome us and provide delicious meals in the beautiful small stone chambre d'hote. Short walks are available either down to the river or up the lane towards the cause. Or a five minute drive will take us to the small town of Goudargues.

Le Priure d’Orniols


e Carmel

Le Carmel, Les Vans  On the third night we are at the Le Carmel near the centre of the small town of Les Vans. The hotel is a former 19th Century Convent. The hotel has a small swimming pool and we shall be dining in the pretty restaurant. If you are in the mood for an early morning walk then the town is well worth a stroll around.


Le Cauvel On our fourth and fifth nights we are at Le Cauvel, which is a converted farm-house in the heart of the Cevennes not far from Barres-des-Cevennes. The place is run by a pair of brothers and their wives and is guided by green and organic principles. We also return here on our 9th night. The hotel sits in a setting of beautiful gardens and flowers with a terrace overlooking the valley. You can visit the smallholding which produces the vegetables for the kitchen. We can access the Robert Louis Stevenson Trail directly from the farmstead and possibly visit the farm next door to visit the horses.

le Cauvel


Auberge de la Cascade For the sixth and seventh nights we are at the Auberge de la Cascade in St. Chely-du-Tarn. The hotel comprises almost the whole of this tiny village which sits besides the Tarn over a narrow bridge barred to most traffic.  The early morning walk around the village will reveal a tiny chapel underneath the cliffs as well as a small church. The hotel has a small pool for our use and we shall dine in its lovely restaurant overlooking the square.

Auberge de Cascade


Hotel Doussiare For the eighth night we stay at the Hotel DoussiĂƒÂ¨re in Le Rozier. The hotel is next to the River Jonte, which joins the Tarn, and has terraces overlooking the river where we shall dine in the evening. A walk around the village in the evening is well worth the effort, as it sits at the junction of two dramatic valleys.

Hotel Belved For the tenth night we stay at the Hotel Belved just south of Vallons Pont D'Arc in the Ardeche Gorge itself. This comfortable place has a small pool for our use and we shall dine here, probably on the terrace, this evening. After dinner we can walk a short distance down the road to some riverside camp-sites where we may be able to find some entertainment or at least a refreshing beer or two.

Hotel Douiare

Hotel Belved


What We See CAVES:  The newly opened (2015) Chauvet caves are a replica of those cave discovered in 1994 near the Pont D’Arc. The replica, like that at Lascaux, allows visitors to see the ancient cave paintings without damaging the originals b y exposing them to the atmosphere. These spectacular paintings are some of the oldest in Europe and some are 40,000 years old and feature animals not seen before in other caves.

Aven d’Orgnac, these caves with interesting geological features are in the Ardeche.   LE PLUS BEAUX VILLAGE DE FRANCE: Sainte-Enimie: on the banks of the Tarn river. Aiguèze, overlooking the Ardeche river. Balazuc, just above the defiles on the Ardeche river. La Roque-sur-Cèze, on the banks of the Ceze. Montclus, on the banks of the Ceze rive. Vogüé, on the Ardeche river.


Canoeing All the canoes for the trips are provided by us and include paddles and a life-jacket. The price is included in the trip. We always prefer open Canadian style canoes, which are paddled in tandem - with two people aboard (usually). If you prefer to paddle solo then this can be arranged. These canoes are especially suited for the calm water conditions we will be paddling on and are stable and safe. They allow plenty of room for yourself and your stuff. From time to time we get clients who wish to paddle a Kayak. We can arrange this for you if you prefer but we do stress that the


rivers we canoe do not really warrant the use of a kayak and we feel tandem paddling in a canoe is the way to go. Most of our clients have been canoeing before but we will insist on reviewing safety procedures at the beginning of paddling each day and revise paddling strokes for those who haven't paddled for a while or have paddled on lakes rather than rivers for example. For those who have never paddled before their will be plenty of time for lessons as we go. These rivers are ideal places for learning. If time and the inclination allows we can also practise other paddling procedures such as Eddy Turns, Peeling Out and Ferrying. The clients will not be expected to lift or carry canoes at any time.


Hiking Although the main focus of the trips will be on the canoeing we will have plenty of time for short walks and longer hikes. Where possible we will walk to and from the river, although this is not compulsory. In the appropriate season when early mornings are light we can opt to go for a pre-breakfast walk. The length and timing of the walk will depend on a consensus reached between those that wish to walk, how early we wish to rise and the time of year. Some of the trails we walk on form part of the network of longdistance paths that criss-cross France. These are known as Grand Randonees (GR) and are way-marked by a red and white flash. We may walk on the GR4 (which goes from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic), passing through the Ardeche. We will walk on the GR70 (the famous Robert Louis Stevenson) which


crosses the Cevennes and also possibly the GR6 which traverse the Tarn.


Wildlife On the river we will see plenty of bird-life both on and around the water. We will see Ducks, and Herons. We will also see Kingfishers, Wagtails, Dippers and Sandpipers. We will see Swallows and Swifts and Martins as well as various other birds crossing our path such as Woodpeckers, Jays and other crows as well as the almost invisible songbirds in the tree and hedges. Of the raptors we will see the Common Buzzard and possibly an Osprey or a Kestrel. This area of France has a rich variety of Butterflies and we will see many familiar species (if you are from Britain). We will also see some rather more exotic species such as the two types of Swallowtail, the Cleopatra, the Banded Grayling and if we are lucky some rarer species such as the Large Blue or the Lesser Purple Emperor or Festoons. The river itself will provide many examples of the Dragonfly and Damselfly family. The delicate damsels include the Western Demoiselle, the White-Legged, the Orange Featherleg, the Blue Featherleg and various Bluets and Bluetails. Of the dragons we may see the Small Pincertail, the Yellow Clubtail,


the Pronged Clubtail and the Common Clubtail amongst others. We will also be able to see many flowers, especially early i n t h e s e a s o n b e f o re t h e meadows are cut, and these will include several orchids such as the Purple, the Pyramid, the Bee and the Lizard Orchids. Of course we will also see many trees and shrubs along the river course and in the forests. We can have some fun trying to identify them. Of the reptiles we will probably see lizards and hear frogs. We sometimes see a Grass Snake swimming in the river (harmless) and sometimes a Viper (the only venomous snake, which is small, 18 inches long, and not very poisonous). The hardest things to see are the mammals. We have seen Nutria and Otters on these rivers and we've also glimpsed Red Squirrels and Mink and Martens along the banks. On the early morning walks we've encountered Foxes, Roe Deer and Fallow Deer. Badgers have only been seen at night in the headlights. The European Beaver swims in these rivers and has been seen, just once by me, on the lower Ardeche.


Maps And Books GUIDE BOOKS, for the 12 Day Ardeche and Tarn Trip   It is an unfortunate fact that the Ardeche and Tarn areas of France are not served particularly well by guide books. A number of walking books and guides are available and no doubt the regions are mentioned in more general guide books to the whole of France. If you do discover something then please let us know.   Cevennes and Grand Causses (Crossbill Guides) by Dirk Hillbers The Cévennes National Park, together with its twin the Parc Naturel des Grands Causses, are among the richest natural areas in France. Against a stunning background of steep cliffs, extensive forests and open, steppe-like plateaux, the visitor can discover an exceptional wealth of flora and fauna. The hundreds of kilometres of trails and tracks make it easy to explore the area with its wealth of orchids and other wildflowers, its superb range of birds and butterflies. The traditional, medieval villages amidst the impressive mountainous country provide a relaxed starting point for exploration. In other words, the Cévennes has everything a naturalist could wish for. This nature guide is part of the renowned Crossbill Guides series for nature enthusiasts. The Crossbill Guides combine interesting and insightful accounts with up-todate and practical tourist information and observation tips. Detailed descriptions of hiking trails and car routes are conveniently linked to information on everything you want to know about the what, why and wherefores of the Cévennes and Grands Causses splendid nature. 


HISTORY  The Discovery of France. A Historical Geography from the Revolution to the First World War. by Graham Robb Illuminating, engrossing and full of surprises, The Discovery of France is a literary exploration of a country few will recognise; from maps and migration to magic, language and landscape, it’s a book that reveals the real past of France to tell the whole story and history of this remarkable nation. ’With gloriously apposite facts and an abundance of quirky anecdotes and thumbnail sketches of people, places and customs, Robb, on brilliant form, takes us on a stunning journey through the historical landscape of France’ Independent. ‘Certain books strain the patience of those close to you. How many times can you demand: Look at this! Can you imagine? Did you know that? Without actually handing over the volume? This is such a book’ Mail on Sunday. ’An extraordinary journey of discovery that will delight even the most indolent armchair traveller’ Daily Telegraph  A Concise History of France by Roger Price This book provides a clear and well-informed guide to French history from the emergence of a strong state in the Ile-de-France in the early middle ages, to the trente glorieuses following the Second World War and the Mitterrand presidency. As such, it provides the most up-to-date and comprehensive study of French history available. Among the book's central themes are the relationship between state and society, the impact of war and such crucial questions as who possessed political power, how this power was used, in whose interests, and with what consequences. Roger Price examines the role of leading figures including Philip Augustus, Henri IV, Louis XIV, the two Napoleans, Clemenceau and De Gaulle as well as the lives of ordinary people. A rich entertaining guide for the student and general reader.


  A Traveller’s History of France, by Robert Cole The Traveller's History series is designed for the traveller who feels they need more historical background information on the country in which they are staying than can be found in an ordinary guidebook. For those who want to look deeper and discover more about the roots of France, its history and culture, in an enjoyable read, this is the book to choose. Designed for easy reference it is the key to unlocking the secrets of France. If you want to find about the mysterious Merovingian kings or the results of the last election; if you want to know when Chartres cathedral was built or how Napoleon rose to power or when and where Princess Diana died - you'll find it all in A Traveller's History of France. 'Undoubtedly the best way to prepare for a trip to France is to bone up on some history. The Traveller's History of France by Robert Cole is concise and gives the essential facts in a very readable form.' The Independent 'This little book is a very good idea indeed, a running commentary on the complexities, triumphs and tragedies of French history from the Lascaux Caves to the Pompidou centre. A must for tourists who want to know what happened where.' The Birmingham Post 'A brilliant idea from Gloucestershire publishers Windrush: a series of books which give a potted history of European countries. Ostensibly aimed at holidaymakers, the first on France, is an excellent introduction for anyone who wants an idiot's guide to a history that has so often intertwined with our own.' The Oxford Times


FICTION Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes and the Amateur Emigrant by Robert Louis Stevenson  In 1878, Robert Louis Srtevenson was suffereing from poor health, struggling to survive on the income derived from his writings, and tormented by his infatuation with Fanny Osbourne, a married American woman. His response was to embark on a journey through the Cevennes with a donkey, Modestine, and a notebook, which he later transformed into ‘Travels with a Donkey’. Just a few months after publication, Stevenson was off again this time crossing the Atlantic and the breadth of America in the hope of being re-united with Fanny; an experince he recored in the ‘The Amateur Emigrant’. Both pieces are classics of travel writing, which reveal as much about Stevenson’s character as the landscape he travels through.

 


MAPS Many types of maps are available for this region but I recommend those produced by the Institute Geographique Nationale (IGN). They have two series of walking maps which are suitable for our canoeing needs. The Top25 series is at a scale of 4cm to the km and the Top100 series is at a scale of 1cm to the km. For the 12 Day Ardeche and Tarn Trip: TOP25 IGN 2640OT Gorges du Tarn et de la Jonte/Causse Mejean/Pn des Cevennes (GPS) TOP100 IGN 162 Rodez/Millau TOP25 IGN 2939OT Gorges de l'Ardeche/Bourg-Saint-Andeol/ Vallon-Pont-D'Arc (Gps) This map doesn’t cover the Gardon, Ceze, Chassezac or the upper Ardeche, just the Gorge of the Ardeche. TOP100 IGN 163 Avignon/Nimes This map covers all the rivers on the trip. These maps are available to buy online at IGN and at the usual online book shops. I would recommend the TOP100 maps. We have all these maps with us on the trips.



Green River Canoes: Ardeche & Tarn