Exodus family group climbing in the Ardeche

Ardeche Family Activity Week

8 days
from
£1,049
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Moderate
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Trip code: 
FEE
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Mixed-Activity
Min age:
8
Group size:
4–16

Kayak, climb, cycle and zip through sunny Ardeche

The Ardeche region of France is one big natural adventure playground. Climbing, kayaking, cycling and zip lining are just some of the things to do in this beautiful setting. The Ardeche River carves through the landscape and has created a massive gorge best known for the 30 metre high rock arch – the Pont d’Arc. We spend two days kayaking down the river, overnighting under the stars at a riverside camp. Our week also explores the region by bike and we even take to the trees for a day spent high up in a ropes course.
Climbing is also hugely popular here with giant limestone cliffs just waiting to be scaled – though beginners are more than welcome as there is so much choice there’s something for everyone. On a less active note we visit the enchanting cave Aven d’Orgnac, to see the beguiling and eery mix of stalactites and stalagmites.
This being France, the food and wine are also a highlight, and there’s ample opportunity to refuel for the next day’s adventure!

Highlights

  • Spectacular gorge descent
  • Perfect for rock climbing and abseiling
  • Cycle through the countryside
  • Try zip lines and high ropes

Key information

  • 6 nights chalets and 1 night riverside camp
  • 8 days land only / flight inclusive
  • 6 days kayaking, cycling, climbing and sightseeing
  • Transport by minibus
  • Minimum age 8 years

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 1 dinner
  • All accommodation (see accommodation section)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
052-4811569
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Joyeuse
to
Joyeuse
  • Day 1

    Fly to Marseille; transfer to Joyeuse (approx. 2 hrs 30 mins).

    We start in Joyeuse, a mediaeval village in the heart of the Ardeche region. Legend has it that the village was named after the famous sword of Charlemagne, who ruled the Franks from 768 - 814. The town is a mix of old and new, with cafés, artisan shops, bistros and bars of modern day France combining with the cobbled streets, narrow alleys and ramparts of the old town, where some great restaurants are also to be found.

  • Day 2

    Transfer to high ropes course for a day zipping through the treetops.

    We transfer to the ropes course to get kitted up ready to try out the zip lines and routes just below the forest canopy. The various courses include monkey bridges, suspension bridges and jungle swings. You are free to choose your difficulty level to either just enjoy the views and experience or up your thrill level.

    Safety equipment, including harness and helmet are all provided, and instruction is given on how to navigate and negotiate the various sections.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Day cycling through the dramatic vistas and villages of the region.

    The Ardeche is a hotbed of cycling and features regularly on the Tour de France. Not surprisingly therefore there are numerous routes we can take to explore the region. After picking up the bikes we set off for a day of what the French call 'cyclotourisme', with some well timed stops along the way for refreshments. We stick predominantly to the dedicated cycle paths leading across glorious countryside, some even using disused railway tunnels and viaducts.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Day trip to the prehistoric cave at Aven d'Orgnac; stops en route for great views over the Ardeche River and gorge; visit local vineyard for winetasting.

    We set off for Aven d'Orgnac, stopping along the way to enjoy the fantastic views on offer. We then visit the mediaeval village of Vallon Pont d'Arc at the head of the Ardeche Gorge, where we stop for an authentic French lunch. As the lunch is not included it is of course possible to opt to have lunch elsewhere in the village, however the leader will make a reservation for the group at a good quality restaurant, offering a traditional meal for around €25. After lunch we transfer to the cave itself.

    This immense grotto is understandably a huge attraction in the Ardeche area. It was created over a period of 100 million years, with the famous 'Leaning Tower of Pisa' stalagmite starting its rise from the cave floor 400,000 years ago. Visitors are treated to the mesmerizing rock formations and eerie atmosphere of the 'Salle Rouge' , 121m below the surface. Remember to bring slightly warmer clothes, as the temperature inside is about 11 degrees. After our visit we transfer back to the hotel.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    The first day of the spectacular kayak down the Ardeche River; overnight bivouac.

    We begin the kayak descent, a two day adventure through the Ardeche Gorge. Starting by the legendary Pont D'Arc, a 60m wide and 54m high rock arch spanning the river, we set off after the initial briefing and instruction with time to get used to our manoeuvrable kayaks.

    As well as negotiating the many rapids along the way, we have time to swim and have lunch on the river’s edge. The standard kayak takes two people, though it is possible to have one to yourself depending on group size. This can only be arranged locally at the time. Buoyancy aides and helmets will be provided and are obligatory.

    We’ll arrive at the bivouac site in the late afternoon, where we’ll prepare our sleeping area and light the BBQ. The site is fully equipped with a shower block and toilets. Tents and inflatable beds are provided for those who require them – though a night under a vast canopy of stars is recommended.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    We kayak the final section of the river, finishing at a riverside bar in St. Martin, transfer to hotel.

    After sleeping out under the stars you’ll rise to the sounds of the outdoors. Breakfast will be prepared by the river team. Once dry sacks are loaded, and the camp is packed up we’ll set off for the final day of the descent, ready to face more rapids and stunning scenery. By early evening we’ll arrive at the bottom of the gorge to make our way, by road, back along the gorge. The drive back is also packed with new breathtaking views of the gorge unfolding with each turn of the road.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 7

    Rock climbing and abseiling in the scenic limestone cliffs above the Chassezac Gorge.

    This region of France is hugely popular for climbers, but such is the array of suitable spots that overcrowding is never an issue. The towering limestone cliffs around the Ardeche and Chassezac Gorges provide huge variety, ensuring there is something for all levels, ages and abilities. After a short transfer to our chosen spot, we receive expert instruction and introduction to the various techniques and aspects of climbing, such as basic ropework, belaying, bouldering and sports climbs. Safety equipment, including harness and helmet are all provided. We transfer to the climbing area in the morning, stopping en route to allow the group to purchase food for a picnic.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

France

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

France

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 1 dinner included.

Continental breakfasts are included at the hotel, and all meals whilst on the gorge descent will be provided. These will consist of 2 packed lunches taken at the riverside, a feast of a barbecue in the evening and a breakfast of cereal, fruit, tea and coffee.
Your group leader can help arrange restaurants in the evening, and the food in the hotel restaurant is also very good, offering traditional cuisine and wonderful pizzas costing around €12-15 for a large - though this is enormous and a small is usually enough, at around €10.

Weather

The Ardeche enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate with ample sunshine throughout the year. The famous Mistral wind prevents temperatures from getting too high in summer with mid to high twenties being the norm from June to September.

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 3 (Moderate)
This trip gives you the chance to go kayaking, cycling, navigate a high ropes course and try rock climbing. The cave visit is not a strenuous activity day as the cave has been fitted with walkways to accommodate visitors.
As with all our mixed activity trips, no previous experience of any of our activities is required for this holiday. However, to enjoy this trip to the full, a fair level of fitness and a 'have a go' attitude is required.
Long periods of time are spent outdoors or in water. We do not recommend that non-swimmers book this trip due to the time spent on water during the gorge descent. In general there is a certain amount of rough and tumble and a few minor cuts and bruises cannot be ruled out.

Please note that the Tour Leader reserves the right to refuse participation of any client on any activities on safety grounds or if they feel that their participation will compromise the safety and enjoyment for the rest of the group. The order of activities may be changed to suit local weather conditions.

Call for general departures:
052-4811569
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Camping du Midi, Ardeche and simple riverside bivouac

Many families travelling to the south of France choose campsites as they are a convenient and often less expensive option than hotels.
Camping du Midi offers a friendly, smaller alternative to some of the large-scale campsites in the area. It also enjoys a wonderful location, just 450m from the impressive Pont d'Arc, the 60-metre rock arch that is the most recognisable feature of the Ardeche Gorge.

The site offers a small number of chalets and we aim to use those offering two bedrooms, a small lounge area, kitchen, bathroom and toilet. 

Due to the small number of chalets and the popularity of the Ardeche region in summer, we recommend booking early. There are a few larger chalets, sleeping up to 6, which can be used for families of 4 and above, for a small supplement.

There is a bar, games area for the children and of course the beach, available for use. , as well as a few restaurants also within walking distance.

We spend one night camping as part of our river descent. This campsite is far simpler though does have a toilet and shower block.

Call for general departures:
052-4811569
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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Call us on 052-4811569