If you like to keep active whilst on holiday and are wondering what else you can do in the local area or want a change of pace after the morning’s walk, there are lots of ‘on water’ activities nearby.

Paddling your own Canoe

But our favourite river thing to do is just up the valley at Maison de Canoe LINK at Montbron kayaking on the river Tardoire.  You can choose to take a 1 or 2 person canoe and the only rules are that you need to know how to swim and must wear a life jacket (provided) and shoes.  There are different lengths of trip available for you between 45 minutes and 4 hours.  We often go from Chambon which is 9.5km and takes around 3 hours and costs €18 per person including insurance.

Keeping some things dry

Canoe Group Photo France

As you’ll be sat in the sun for a couple of hours wear cool clothes (shorts and t-shirts are perfect).  You will need to take a good sun hat, sunglasses and, of course some sunscreen.  From the base at Montbron, you get taken by the really friendly staff in the minibus (with your canoe on the trailer behind) to the drop off point, in our case Chambon, and then you paddle down going with the current. One point worth noting is that they give you a big watertight plastic barrel to put your valuables or anything else you want to keep dry because yes…….you will get a bit wet!

Relax and float downstream

Canoe Group

The scenery along the way is beautiful and to experience the peace and quiet of the Tardoire is a pure delight.  The shady, shallow waters mean that in high summer you can run aground sometimes so you might have to get out and push back off again – but that’s all part of the fun. The wild life is a joy; fish jumping, mayflies, damselflies and loads of dragonflies patrolling. Best of all are the birds; buzzards, dippers, herons and bright flashes of kingfishers swooping from bank to bank. You slide past picturesque Chateaux, slip discretely by silent fishermen and watch the river and the countryside unroll as you gently paddle.

Sliding the River

But the thing that we really love about canoeing here is the water chutes. There may not be rapids or angry white waters but, dotted along the way, there are several, well-signed, man-made slides for you to ‘chute’ down.  They are guaranteed to make you smile.  Even worse (or better), people have been known to cheer or woo-hoo from the sheer pleasure!  At first it might seem a little tricky to navigate the canoe to the top of the chute, but after you’ve done it a couple of times, you’ll be laughing…..literally!

Canoe Shutes

More water sports

Kayaking apart there are heaps of other things to do ‘on water’. At Angouleme you can steer a little electric boat on the Charente (Les Bateaux Rouges), take a pedelo, paddle boat, fish, kayak or even enjoy a pleasure cruise on along the River that Francois 1st called “the most beautiful stream in the Kingdom” (Randonnee Fluviale). There are also lakes and pools a plenty in the area including an indoor 50m pool with diving areas, sauna & outdoor wave pool at St Yriex (www.nautilis.fr) and you might also consider a visit to the Lacs de Haute Charente (www.lacs-de-haute-charente.com)  for a taste of beach life in the country! So if you’d like a slice of the fun and a great afternoon out, why not come and give it a try 🙂