Birthday wild swim in France / Baignade d’anniversaire en France

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At the exact time Jedi turned 11, he was singing Happy Birthday and splashing in the Indre River, near Loches, Loire Valley, under the scenic arch of a derelict ‘Roman’ bridge.

This was the second day of our annual trip across France, from Cherbourg at the very tip of Normandy to our summer house in Auvergne. Following our first wild swim in the English Channel only the day before, we planned Jedi’s surprise birthday swim in the Loire Valley using the excellent book Wild Swimming France.

Only 45 minutes after leaving the lovely Maison des Lizas, Neuil, where we’d spent the night, we parked the car on the grass at L’Isle d’Auger, beside a sign post reading ‘Pont romain’.

Mermaid ran down the dirt track to the river bank, wearing only her swim suit and her snorkel, and went straight in. Jedi followed her, cautiously first, before going underwater simply so he could use his snorkel. Squirrel slowly waded in, at his own pace, determined to keep his upper body dry (he gets cold as soon as he is wet). Pebbles stepped in carefully, holding my hand or Brian’s at all times.

We had the place to ourselves. And what a place it turned out to be. Happy birthday Jedi!


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A l’heure précise où Jedi a eu 11 ans, il chantait Joyeux Anniversaire à tue-tête en éclaboussant dans l’Indre, près de Loches, sous l’élégante arche gothique d’un pont “romain” en ruines.

C’était le second jour de notre traversée annuelle de la France, de Cherbourg à la pointe du Cotentin jusqu’à notre maison de Haute-Loire. Après notre première baignade sauvage la veille dans la Manche, nous avons organisé la surprise d’anniversaire de Jedi à l’aide de l’excellent Baignades sauvages en France.

Trois quarts d’heure à peine après être partis de notre superbe chambre d’hôtes de la Maison des Lizas, à Neuil (Indre-et-Loire), nous avons garé la voiture sur l’herbe à l’Isle Auger, sous un panneau indiquant “Pont romain”.

Sirène, en maillot de bain et coiffée de son tuba, courut sur le sentier en terre jusqu’à la berge. Jedi la suivit, prudemment d’abord, avant de s’enfoncer sous l’eau juste pour pouvoir utiliser son masque de plongée. Ecureuil s’avança dans l’eau lentement, à son propre rythme, veillant à garder son torse au sec (il commence à frissonner dès qu’il est mouillé). Caillou, inquiet de la profondeur, ne lâcha pas ma main, ou celle de Brian.

Nous étions seuls en ce lieu idyllique pour une aventure familiale brève mais inoubliable. Bon anniversaire, Jedi !

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Getting there

The Pont Romain is only Roman in name. Although there has been a ford on the Indre River since times immemorial, the ivy-clad arches visible today are Gothic in style and date back to the 13th or 15th century.

To get there, take the D25 road north of Loches for 5km. Past L’Isle Auger, the bridge is signposted on the left, down a very narrow lane.

Further reading

This swimming spot can be found on page 244, no 167, of Wild Swimming France, by Daniel Start, published by Wild Things Publishing. This dazzling travel guide to France, suitable for families and adventurers alike, contains all the practical information you’ll need to lure you off the beaten track to over 400 amazing locations, with stunning photography, 15 maps, and detailed directions, grid references and walk-in times.
It is also available as an app and e-book from Wild Things Publishing’s website.


S’y rendre

Le Pont romain de l’Isle Auger n’a de romain que le nom. Bien qu’il y ait eu un gué sur l’Indre à cet endroit depuis l’Antiquité, les arches drapées de vigne vierge sont de style gothique et remontent au XIIIe ou XVe siècle.

Pour y arriver, prenez la D25 au nord de Loches pendant 5 km. Juste après l’Isle Auger, le pont est signalé sur la gauche, par un chemin très étroit.

A lire

Le Pont romain apparaît dans le superbe Baignades sauvages en France, de Daniel Start, aux éditions Ouest France.  L’ouvrage est également disponible en application à télécharger sur le site du livre.

Le guide indispensable pour se rafraîchir en été ! Y sont recensés les 400 plus beaux coins de baignade en eau douce partout en France – rivières, lacs ou cascades – dans des environnements sublimes et préservés. Du Jura à la Provence, en passant par la Corse, les Alpes ou les bords de Loire, aucun coin d’eau, aucune plage secrète n’a été oublié. Richement illustré, cet ouvrage comprend pour chaque baignade : un texte de présentation, les moyens d’accès, des conseils pratiques, des cartes.

 

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links. Should you choose to make a purchase after clicking on one of them, I may receive a small commission and your purchase will help support this site.


Avertissement : Cet article contient des liens partenaires. Si vous décidez d’effectuer un achat après avoir cliqué sur l’un d’eux, je recevrai une commission qui contribuera à soutenir ce site.

 

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11 Responses to “Birthday wild swim in France / Baignade d’anniversaire en France

  • Ah what a beautiful spot and well done to you all going for a dip. I’m guessing it was cold even in summer. I like to wade across our river and take a little dip with the kids but it always makes me squeal with the shock of the cold! This looks like so very like Coombe Mill but in warmer water, even our bridge is a similar age but not arched. Your photos are beautiful and what a perfect way to celebrate Jedi’s birthday. Your French trip certainly got off to a good start.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids
    Fiona Cambouropoulos recently posted…The Fishing Lesson that Broke the Line

  • What a fantastic birthday treat! I love the Loire valley, we used to visit when I was a child. Your photos are gorgeous and it’s nice that you had the water all to yourselves. I’m not sure if my kids would be so brave! #CountryKids

  • This looks like loads of fun, we are lucky enough to have a great lake where we live so my kids are always wild swimming. I don’t like it thought, too many fish and other things! Mich x #Countrykids

  • Such beautiful photos. I love wild swimming so this is of particular interest to me. What great thing to do all together #countrykids

  • Oh wow how blissful! We love wild swimming and try to do some every year but it’s just so cold in Wales, the water usually comes down from the mountain and is like ice. Would love to go wild swimming in France – thanks for leaving the reading suggestions for tips!
    Just popping over from Countrykids
    Laura x

  • Happy Birthday ou Joyeux Anniversaire little one. Your photos are gorgeous and will be a joy to look back on. #CountryKids

  • This looks like the perfect spot! such beautiful wild and free photos and gorgeous memories!#countrykids

  • I went on a road trip across France about 7 years ago. We too went to the Loire Valley. It’s very beautiful. #countrykids
    Emma Thatcher recently posted…The Twins First Sports Day

  • What a great way to spend a birthday. It looks lovely. Glad you all had a wonderful time. #familyfun

  • Happy Birthday to your son! What a fabulous way to celebrate 🙂 Just beautiful. One of the things I love about now living in the US is that we have so many more opportunities to wild swim. #countrykids

  • OH wow what a fantastic place to go for a swim and on your birthday too. I would have loved this when I was younger. I don’t know but swimming in streams and lakes always seemed so much fun! Thanks for sharing at #familyfun
    Tammymum recently posted…Tips For Creating A Child Friendly Summer Garden

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