A guide to France’s best canyoning descents
From high mountain technical canyoning in the French Alps to super-fun warm water descents in the Verdon Gorge, France has a huge variety of canyoning descents.
The south of France is a world-class destination for canyoning and the Alpes-Maritimes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence regions have some of the best descents. The stunning scenery, crystal clear water and the variety of the canyons attract both holiday makers looking for a challenging activity and serious canyoning enthusiasts alike.
Canyoning is a great way to explore some of the French Alps’ most inaccessible yet beautiful landscapes. The high mountain terrain that makes the French Alps such a great place for winter sports also make it ideal for canyoning. Spring meltwater fills rivers and carves out deep canyons perfect for exploration. Slip down natural water-slides, leap into crystal clear pools, abseil down waterfalls and zip-line across ravines, canyoning blends a mix of French Alps outdoor sports into one memorable adventure.
Book a Canyoning Trip
Our canyoning partners offer full-day and half-day canyoning adventures and cater to all abilities and group sizes. Canyoning adventures are staged in magnificent mountain terrain in remote locations. Take a guide, you’ll be safer and you’ll have a lot more fun.
Preparing for your canyoning trip
Canyoning involves making your way down a river gorge, sliding down natural waterslides, jumping into deep crystal clear pools, and abseiling down waterfalls. You’ll wear a wetsuit to protect you from the cool alpine water and any potential scrapes on rocks, a helmet and a harness. It’s a challenging activity, and the sport takes you off the beaten track to some of the most stunning scenery in the south of France.
What do I need to bring?
You’ll need to bring a swimsuit, a pair of old trainers, a towel, and a picnic if food isn’t provided on full-day descents. Technical gear should be provided by your canyoning guide including wetsuit, helmet, harness and climbing ropes.
Do I need rock climbing experience to go canyoning?
Although you use a lot of the same equipment as in rock climbing you don’t need rock climbing experience. It’s more important that you’re confident in the water than being able to scale boulders. Canyoning has a quick learning curve and canyons are graded so you can tackle easy descents and build up. You do however need a minimum level of fitness and, although you’ll be wearing a wetsuit, you need to be comfortable with heights and a confident swimmer as you’ll be jumping off rocks into deep, moving water.
How much time do I need to set aside for a canyoning trip?
There are a variety of canyoning experiences to choose from, from straightforward walking canyons known as randonnées aquatique to technical multi-day expeditions. So, you can complete a canyoning expedition in a few hours but for the best experience, it’s best to set aside a full day. Allow 1 to 2 hours driving time from Nice. Another consideration is that some canyons are quite remote and accessible only on foot over steep, rough ground.