Visiting the Gard region, you kind of have to go to the Pont du Gard. This famous 2,000-year-old Roman aqueduct is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a popular sightseeing destination. When I visited for the first time, I immediately noticed the kayakers on the Gardon River. So on our most recent visit, I wanted our little family to experience the Pont du Gard from a different point of view: from the water.
It was a gorgeous day, and we went off for our expedition full of anticipation. There are several kayak rental companies on the Gardon River; we went for Canoë Collias. They are friendly, easygoing and helpful. Good weather: check. Kids above six years old: check. Life jackets: check. Closed-toe shoes: check. Waterproof storage container: check. Picnic: check. Two kayaks: check double check!
We set off from the right side of the river (rive droite). In order to get back to our starting point, we had to reserve the pick up in advance. As the water was high and the current quite strong, the kayak guy estimated we needed an hour and a half to kayak about 8 kilometres. Normally it would take you approximately 2 hours. I included some picnic and swimming time, and we were good to go!
The boys and girls each shared a kayak. Right from the start, the scenery was amazing. The Gardon River flows through a landscape of calcareous rocks. The emerald green water complimented the lush river banks and bright blue sky perfectly. And it was so peaceful! Well, that was until the boys decided to have a competition to see who was the fastest… Soon enough we found the perfect picnic spot. Our packed lunch tasted so much better in this gorgeous natural setting.
After this short stop, we changed places and I paddled with our two boys. They were still in competition mode. We didn’t win though. And the boys weren’t too happy when they discovered I had been busy taking photos at the back :). Our daughter and Chéri happily waved at us from under the Pont du Gard. As I tried to go as slowly as possible, the boys managed to go under the bridge, eh, aqueduct, as well. An impressive moment, although really the whole kayak trip was spectacular.
From the Pont du Gard, it takes another 20 minutes to arrive at the pick-up point. When we started the trip, I asked the kayak guy if it would be difficult. He said it was doable, but because of the high water, it might be a bit difficult. So I was quite nervous when we started kayaking. In the end though, it was such a pleasant and peaceful trip. Apart from a few faster-flowing sections, the water was calm and clear. And cold! But we’re tough cookies, so we ended our kayak trip with a dip in the river.