Sunday, October 2, 2016

A Visit by Canoe to Pont du Gard

In the morning we walked across the Pont du Gard and then hiked up the trail to get an "aerial" view. After a light meal consisting of food and drinks from the Canteen at the Pont du Gard visitor center, we headed to Collias for our rendezvous to pick up canoes for our trip down the Gardon River to the Pont du Gard. It appears there are several companies that rent canoes, we reserved at the number listed in Rick Steves' Provence and The French Riviera guide book for Collias Canoe.

When we arrived at the location near the large sunflower field shown below, it turned out we had reserved at Canoe Le Tourbillon in Collias. So Rick Steves, if you are reading this, please correct your guide book and change your recommendation to Canoe Le Tourbillon, we highly recommend, or put in the right number for Collias Canoe.

Sunflower field near Collias France

The Gardon River starts in the Cévennes mountain range and flows 133 kilometers before it runs into the Rhône River at Comps, north of Beaucaire. It is the namesake of the department of Gard. Several of its tributaries are also called Gardon.

It is about 8 kilometers from the starting point in Collias to the pick up point north of the Pont du Gard. It takes about one and one-half hours to get to the Pont du Gard and another 30 minutes to go from there to the pick up point.

According to the Canoe Le Tourbillon website, the Gardon River is a calm river (degree of difficulty 1 on a scale of 6), so the canoe trip is suitable for everybody able to swim. The law requires that children be at least 6 years of age to go in the canoe.

Gardon River

They have a number of different types of boats, kayaks for 1 or 2 people, and canoes for 2, 3 or 4 people. You can protect your personal items with you in watertight containers that you take with you in your boat.

Shirley and I resting in our canoe

If you go, bring sunscreen, sunglasses and a pair of shoes that you can wear in the water. If you have to push your boat because of low water levels, you will be happy to have shoes because those stones are quite uncomfortable.

Daughter Tricia with family and Shirley

I wanted to record our trip down the Gardon River but was afraid to risk my Nikon or mobile phone to do this. I was afraid Shirley and I would figure out a way to turn our canoe over. For some reason I figured that Tricia riding with Alvin would be less likely to tip over and lose my mobile phone, my hunch was right, and she shot all of the pictures of our trip down the Gardon River.

First view of the Pont du Gard

Check out the sights as we approach and pass under the Pont du Gard.

Closer view of the Pont du Gard

Taking a break while granddaughter Avery enjoys the cool Gardon River

Water tight container tied to canoe

Approaching the Pont du Gard

Getting ready to pass under Pont du Gard

Under Pont du Gard

Close up of Pont du Gard showing three levels

Young people on rocks under Pont du Gard

Doing flips off the rocks into the Gardon River

Diving into the Gardon River

We made it back to the pick up point on time and headed home. We had not done a water visit to the Pont du Gard before but were very happy we did it and will do it again I'm sure.

Canoë Le Tourbillon
3 Chemin du Gardon
30210 Collias


  1. Fascinating. I only just saw the Pont du Gard for the first time recently. Maybe even while you were canoeing below. Absolutely beautiful.

    1. We have been to the Pont du Gard quite a few times, usually with our visitors, but we have never canoed down the Gardon River before. Very happy we chose to do so. It was very fun and it provided us with a unique viewpoint of the Pont du Gard.

  2. Michel, this wonderful story reminds me of the time you took Jennifer and me to this fabulous piece of history. Thanks for letting me relive that great trip.