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Thread: Paddling Map of France

  1. #1
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    Default Paddling Map of France

    Are folks aware of the canoe and kayaking map of France published by IGN the French mapping agency?

    It is called Canoe Kayak En France and is at a scale of 1:1,000,000 so covers the whole country. It shows paddleable rivers and paddling areas along the coast and rivers are broken down into 3 catagories, green grade 1, red grade 2 to 3 and purple grade 4 to 6. There is also a yellow colouration appled to rivers of any grade to signify a special scenicx stretch. As well as rivers it shows all the major roads, motorways and towns so its really useful to allow you to relate rivers to locations and to locate rivers to each other and easily see how to get to them. The only thing it doesn't show are access points which at this scale would not be possible. Additionaly all the information is also in English.

    The map is available drect from IGN on their website and its also on Stanfords website. It is map number 905 in the Carte Touristique series and the ISBN number is 978-2-7585-0466-5. A really intersting map for anyone thinking of exploring French rivers.
    Mike

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  3. #3
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    Ta for this - looks great.

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    And, as it arrived today, I can confirm that it is, indeed, great!

  5. #5
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    thanks for the heads up on that i just found a nice river to paddle here in france but as iv only just had my first paddling session on a local lake it will be a while before i try it
    Wandering hearts meet on the trails of life

  6. #6
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    Thanks Mike, mine's ordered, ready for three weeks paddling trip to central France starting in 2 weeks. Just 14 sleeps to go.
    Paul
    Just goin with the flow

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulsmith View Post
    Thanks Mike, mine's ordered, ready for three weeks paddling trip to central France starting in 2 weeks. Just 14 sleeps to go.
    Paul
    It might have changed by the time you get out here, but as at Wednesday this week the Vezere and Dordogne (tourist areas) were running so full that no one was paddling because of all the rain. We stayed at Limeuil at the confluence of the 2 rivers and booked a shuttle from the campsite to take us up the Vezerre past Les Eyzies but he refused at the last moment saying it was 'trop dangerous pour les canots'. We were staying before that above Argentat at the end of the Gorges de Dordogne and that was excellent paddling, good weather, but the river there is controlled by Les Sabliers barrage. We also paddled extensively around the Marais Poitevan at Coulon which is terrific for wildlife.
    'Life is Art, and not otherwise' C.S.Lewis

  8. #8
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    Hello Nigel, It's a shame you were unable to paddle that stretch of the Vezere back to Limeuil it's a lovely river and much more interesting than the Dordogne from Beynac back to Limeuil which is the another popular trip. We stayed at the superb campsite at Limeuil last year at the end of June, and we were told then that the river had been very high before we arrived. Hopefully things will have settled again by the time we get there this year.
    Paul
    Just goin with the flow

  9. #9
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    We were in the Les Eyzies area from 1st till 8th June 2013. After extended periods of rain in the mountains the Vezere and Dordogne we both very full with fast flows. By Weds 5th we were told that the levels were ok for paddling on the Vezere; and where we looked this appeared to be the case. Several companies were hiring boats, after several weeks of no business. The Dordogne was clearly in flood and nothing was on the river all week.

    By the Wednesday the Vezere, a smaller quieter river had improved considerably, with levels well down and flow rates better. So we hired two open canoes from a Les Eyzies company and they dropped us off to a put in above Saint-LÚon-sur-VÚzŔre. They had hired other boats that day and our close observation of flows and significantly reducing levels at Les Eyzies and La Roque Saint-Christophe during the preceeding days led us to believe that we could safely proceed.

    The in looked ok, so we launched the first boat with two of us in it. But a little way after we set off we could see lots of trees with long branches extending well out across the river, just at water level. The current proved much stronger than anticipated and it swept us back across into some thick branches that knocked us out of the boat. We stuck with the upturned boat and collected paddles, dry box etc as they floated by. We warned our friends in the second canoe to keep away, because of the dangers to themselves too.

    Once the boat was clear of the trees we managed to swim & push the boat towards the bank. This was too steep to land on, but standing in hip-deep water, we could at least empty enough water out to get back in. We paddled downstream a few 100 metres to a better landing point to empty the remaining water from boat. We had an arguement with some fishermen that were not happy for us to land there, even with us dripping wet. So we moved further down around a bend to get out of their way and they eventually gave up shouting.

    The driver that helped us launch was blissfully unware of our plight and drove off. Fortunately as we had recovered our paddles, dry bag and maps we could continue our journey, somewhat shaken. We were very fortunate that the outcome wasn't worse. We paddled 18km back to Les Eyzies. Unfortunately there were no places to safely stop, as the beaches we expected were under water, or too near overhanging trees (now public enemy number 1!); or the flow was just too fast to land safely.

    We are reasonably experienced paddlers, having paddled for several years in our own boat and in hired boats in Canada. We'd also paddled 35 miles down the Wye earlier this year with reasonably fast flows. So we weren't 'green' and had the experience to know what to do in a crisis. But the river flow and features in some places on the Vezere was beyond our experience on this occassion. Much of the river flows though farmland and canyons that can't be easily seen from the road, usually a blessing, but hiding significant hazards in this case. The banks were thickly lined with trees to the water line (in these conditions at least) down a most of the route.

    So I urge anyone thinking of hiring in this area to take account of the conditions, particularly if the river has been closed frio any time. Reccee the river in advance, look closely at the river conditions and assess potential hazards before paddling. If possible talk to other paddlers that have done the route while you are there. If there is any doubt wait a few more days, even if this means you don't do the trips planned.

    Paddling is a wonderful pastime and one that we shall continue to enjoy. We'll also return to see the Dordoge another year hopefully. But I just wanted to share my experience as I think it illustrates that there are always hazards present when in a boat. Don't be tempeted to overlook them, particularly at unfamiliar venues and don't create added risks in your haste to get on the water.

  10. #10
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    Glad you coped with all that OK Nick, I always tell people the most dangerous things on the river are the trees. I hope your next trip is a little less 'adventurous'.

  11. #11
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    so glad to hear your well and as an angler im disgusted to hear your treatment i personaly would of helped you ashore and made you a cuppa and a lend of my sleeping bag to get warm again
    Wandering hearts meet on the trails of life

  12. #12
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    Thanks for your kind words chaps. It was an unpleasant experience that we have learned from. So, if nothing else, we are older and wiser! I'll certainly return to the Les Eyzies as it a wonderful base for both canoeing and touring the beatuiful Perigord region.

  13. #13
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    im in the north creuse if you need a base camp for any exploring more then welcome
    Wandering hearts meet on the trails of life

  14. #14

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    Hi Nigel,

    Visited Argentat on a two week sojourn around France with my camper van and open Canadian Old Town in June. You have now confirmed what I thought at the time. launched from the lay by just below Argentat on the 24th June. and after possibly a mile came to a fork in the river, Decided to take the left fork as the right fork was something out of "Deliverance" and way beyond my capabilities, However as I crossed the mouth of the right fork I was pulled sideways into the mouth of the torrent and only just managed to grab on to a willow and throw the painter around a branch.. I hung there for some minutes shaking. Jumped in waist deep and managed to get my canoe into the lesser of the two torrents. Two miles down I hauled out,yes it was in spate and one for me to miss, I hitched back to the vehicle and drove south to the Cevennes and the L'Herault which I hadn't tried before. The heat was great as was the rest of the trip.

    Interestingly, I paddle the Besbre a few years ago which was running quite fast and was nearly decapitated by a string of barbed wire strung across the river which was also running high.

  15. #15
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    Some interesting reading.I have the IGN map, canal maps etc. I am hoping to paddle and cycle from Brittany to The Med maybe in 2014.The route I am hoping to use will involve going upstream on several rivers and trying to use canals where possible.Has anybody any experience or knowledge of paddling UP rivers like the Loire or Vienne. Possible route:Nantes-Brest canal to Nantes. Up Loire to Saumur. Up the Vienne to Limoges. Dronne to Bordeaux. Garonne/Canal du Midi to the Med. Is this idea a non starter?

  16. #16
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    Just looked at this and thought "god alone knows" if this is even possible.

    the first thing that occurs is that when there is a bit of rain, you would be hard pushed to paddle up anything meaningful. Not sure when you are thinking of doing this but the bigger rivers run at some serous flow rates even when they are not anywhere near in spate.

    Canal du midi is ok but there are going to be a shed load of portages and holiday barge trips.

    as to silverbuzzards story , ....

    Two miles down I hauled out,yes it was in spate and one for me to miss,
    i think you met the Malpas rapid with a high river. Not a place for most open canoes
    MarkL
    www.canoemassifcentral.com
    Canoe outfitting packages in the Massif Central


  17. #17
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    Looking at May June July perhaps. Could be more towing the canoe behind my bike than paddling!

  18. #18
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    At that time of year (may/June) rivers will have strong flow so I'd be doubtful of being able to paddle against them too far.

    this is the dordogne late April and it rained most of may after as an example ...

    MarkL
    www.canoemassifcentral.com
    Canoe outfitting packages in the Massif Central


  19. #19
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    Thanks Mark. No chance I could go against something like that in the photo. Your info is very useful. Its all very well looking at maps and although I've paddled on and off for many years I don't have your first hand experience of the French rivers.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by letheil View Post
    Thanks Mark. No chance I could go against something like that in the photo. Your info is very useful. Its all very well looking at maps and although I've paddled on and off for many years I don't have your first hand experience of the French rivers.
    not sure I've helped but I'd be happy to try to work out an alternative challenge to this in La Belle France
    MarkL
    www.canoemassifcentral.com
    Canoe outfitting packages in the Massif Central


  21. #21
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    We paddled along the Vezere in early June doing about 15-17k down stream, having waited for days for the levels to drop. The river was flowing very swiftly and we had no chance of going against the flow even for short periods. When we tried to 'hold station' waiting for some friends we were swept into overhanging trees and out of the boat. So I'd be very wary of planning on the basis of going upstream unless the flows are well down. As Mark says the Dordogne and others rivers in the area were carrying a lot of rain this year and there was no river traffic in late May and early June. Maybe that was exceptional I don't know but these are mighty rivers, so do plan well and take care!

  22. #22
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    Thanks Nick.I think I might change my plans in view of recent information. I have paddled sections of the Charente in the past.Perhaps a trip from source to the sea might be a challenging alternative? 381Km I believe. I have a house very close to the Lie which runs into the Nantes- Brest canal and would like to start from there, but there are a lot of locks and once you reach Nantes everything is an up river paddle to anywhere.

  23. #23

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    anyone know the loire? my brother did an organised paddle a few years back with luggage hauled to the next gite each day. he and his wife played folk music each night in a new bar and never had to buy a drink! me id be happy just to do some interesting paddling in a canadian. did the yukon a few years ago max 1.5 rapids so wd like some of the same, going downhill!
    As i have a residential centre in brittany i thought the loire might be a good 'local' venue

  24. #24
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    Google search 'canoeing the continent'.Two chaps who went UP the Loire as part of their expedition.
    Good luck

  25. #25

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    Hi Paddlers.
    I was searching for the map mentioned at the start of the page with the link to Stanfords as the suppliers, but it seems that it is no longer available. Do any of you know if there is a more up to date version. I can't find it even with the ISBN. We are heading to France in a week and want to do the stretch from Vayrac to Souillac, 2 days and one overnight camp. Any recommendations would be much appreciated. The canoe company I called Safaraid will not bring my husband back to base at the end of the trip because he has his own canoe. I will be hiring one. If you know any companies that will hire me an open boat canoe but allow my husband to come back on the shuttle at the end of the trip too, that too would be fab! I wait with anticipation for your reliable support paddlers.

  26. #26
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    If you have a specific section in mind, go for the 1:25000 maps from IGN. The map which covers Souillac is 2036 but Vayrac is on the next map across 2136. These maps are usually readily available in the supermarkets locally so, unless you need one for planning, I would wait until you get there. You can order them from the IGN website entitled 'espaceloisirs.ign.fr'

    For access at Vayrac visit the Place de Loisir where you will find a carpack right near the river both private for the canoe hire and public elsewhere. At Souillac there is a convenient get-out just below the bridge on river left, I think you need to go through the camping, the landing places on the right by the town are less easy for cars.

  27. #27
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    Just a thought on your shuttle arrangements. Presumably you are looking for a lift for both your husband and his boat for which I can understand the canoe hire company's reticence. They will take you back to your car so you can leave him minding his boat. It does mean a bit of a double shuttle depending on where you are starting from but beggars can't be choosers.

  28. #28

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    Some of the rivers that are marked on the map as paddling rivers - are not paddling rivers.
    I wanted to paddle from Fontainebleau to Paris but could not get permission because it is a 'commercial navigation'. ie. big barges. Can anyone confirm this?
    I also wanted to paddle one of the rivers going into Dieppe. As I had a 2 day wait for the car ferry. The helpful tourist office made many calls on my behalf. And all 'authorities' port and river, said it was not allowed. Has anyone else tried?

  29. #29
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    I recall you do not need a licence to canoe on the French canals. There has been research on this in earlier threads but it is quite quick to find out. I don't know about Dieppe but I can't believe there is any problem canoeing on the Bethune or the Varenne once you are away from the town and the port.

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    Hi

    We are going on holiday to France in the second half of July and are wondering where to paddle near Morvan or in Alsace and Burgundy? We are experienced canoe campers but not experienced with rapids, and will have a small dog in the canoe who hasn't much paddling experience. So looking for scenic rather than daring, day trips rather than overnights.

    Any suggestions gratefully received.

    Frances

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