The best summertime activities in the Gorges du Tarn area
This part of France has a wild, untouched feel about it that makes it great for multiple outdoor activities. In the winter-time, the Cévennes plateaux which border the Gorges du Tarn are a challenging environment, but summer brings out the best of its unspoilt beauty.
Things to do in the local area centre around the river Tarn which makes its way to the Garonne River through the steep sides of this famous limestone canyon. For those looking for a fairly active summer holiday in France, they can sample a wide selection of highly physical and/or extreme sports in the local area. White water rafting is one of the most popular, with the spring season being even better for thrills and spills than the summertime. The limestone of the local area has given rise to extensive cave systems, some of which can be explored using specialist equipment, others, like the Aven Armand cave with its spectacular stalagmites, are accessible to the general public.
Back up above ground, climbing, via ferrata, tree-top adventure courses, paragliding and bungee jumping are all widely-available activities during the summer holidays.
Stay in a hotel at the heart of the Gorges du Tarn
Azureva’s very own Gorges du Tarn hotel, the Hôtel des Bateliers, is located in the pretty little village of La Malène, which is known for its 14th century fortified manor house and as a good starting point for boat trips along the river. The hotel is a mixture of traditional rooms and self-catering apartments, the flexibility of which makes it a good choice for family friendly vacations to France. One of the rooms is designed specifically for people of limited mobility.
Also part of the hotel complex are three gîtes built in the local style, offering good views of the Gorges du Tarn, and being able to accommodate up to five people. It’s possible to order breakfast at the hotel and even pre-book a packed lunch so that you can have as much time as possible just exploring the local area.
The natural world at its spectacular best
Perhaps you’ve already tried out all the more athletic pursuits for which the Gorges du Tarn are famous, and are wondering what to do next? Sometimes it’s good to just enjoy the world’s natural beauty, and this part of France is a great place to do just that.
If you’re interested in geology, there’s an abundance of natural rock formations that will take your breath away. The most famous of these is probably the Chaos de Montpellier-le-Vieux – limestone rock weathered into fantastic shapes by natural erosion over the years. You could also visit the Point Sublime viewpoint for excellent views over a bend of the river, 800 metres above sea level.
Plant-lovers and birdwatchers are well catered for too. The Causse Méjean plateau is particularly celebrated for its huge range of wildflowers (more than 900 species, including orchids). Meanwhile, the local griffon vulture, a huge bird of prey with a wingspan of over 8 feet, has pride of place at the ‘Maison des Vautours’ vulture centre. This facility boasts lots of information about these magnificent birds, webcams livestreaming all the goings-on of their cliff-top colonies and an observation platform complete with telescopes.
Last, but not least, no holidays in the Gorges du Tarn area would be complete without a visit to a man-made feature that serves to bring out the majesty of the local landscape into even greater relief – the world-famous Millau Viaduct, currently the tallest bridge in the world!
If these ideas have inspired you to opt for self-catering in the south of France, why wait any longer – get in touch with us by telephone 04 74 32 74 63 or email: [email protected].