A summer of wild swimming / Un été de baignades sauvages

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It was a summer spent wild swimming all around France. From our first to our very last day in my home country, we plotted our family adventures around swimming opportunities in the rivers, lakes and outdoor pools, going for a dip every chance we got. And you know what? Summer in France has never felt so good! 


Notre été en France a commencé par une baignade sauvage et s’est achevé de la même façon. Entremi, nos aventures familiales se sont organisées autour des rivières, lacs et étangs de France, explorant les pieds dans l’eau dès que l’occasion se présentait. Et vous savez quoi ? L’été en France a été plus beau que jamais !

1. In the Channel / Dans la Manche

Hardly an hour after driving off the ferry at Cherbourg, we pulled up on the beach at La Fontaine-Saint-Côme, near Arromanches-sur-Mer, Normandy, for our first ever wild swim in the English Channel. Under a cloudy sky and in the ebbing tide, we had the place, and a lifeguard, all to ourselves. At a lovely 18°C the water felt nearly warm compared with the oh so cold Irish Sea.


Une heure à peine après avoir débarqué du ferry à Cherbourg, nous nous arrêtions à la plage de La Fontaine-Saint-Côme, près d’Arromanches-sur-Mer, Normandie, pour notre toute première baignade dans la Manche. Sous un ciel couvert et à la marée descendante, nous avions la plage et un sauveteur en mer pour nous tous seuls. A 18°C, l’eau nous parut presque chaude comparée à la mer d’Irlande ô si froide.

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2. In the Indre River / Dans l’Indre

The next day was Jedi’s birthday, so we planned a surprise wild swim for him and the rest of us in the Indre River at L’Isle Auger, Loire Valley. Several days later, when asked about his favourite part(s) of the day, he never failed to mention his birthday swim under a derelict ‘Roman’ bridge.


L’anniversaire de Jedi tombait le lendemain, aussi lui avons-nous préparé une baignade surprise dans l’Indre, à l’Isle Auger près de Loches, en Touraine. Par la suite, chaque fois qu’on lui demandait quels avaient été ses moments préférés de la journée, il ne manquait jamais de mentionner sa baignade d’anniversaire sous un pont “romain” en ruines.

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3. In the Loire River / Dans la Loire

On a scorching afternoon in early August, we swam for the first time in the mighty river Loire. Guided by my vague childhood recollections of the area, and by the much more accurate satellite view on GoogleMaps™, we found ourselves in Le Chambon-sur-Loire, a hamlet located a mere 10 minutes’ drive from our French summer house. 

We took a sharp left after the gîte Au Champ Bonheur down the former towpath. Worried about damaging the car on the extremely bumpy track, we parked on the grass by the wayside and continued on foot. We hardly walked 50 metres before coming across a small trail heading down to the river.

It was like stepping into a postcard. In the late afternoon sunshine, the slow-flowing Loire mirrored the cloudless azure of the sky and the lush greenery of the trees. 

The Loire – often inaccessible, always untamed, one of the last wild rivers in Europe.

In the Haute-Loire département, the Loire River is only at the beginning of its 1,000km long journey across France. Wide, quiet, and deceivingly powerful, it meanders lazily through thick forests and deep gorges. Often inaccessible, always untamed, one of the last wild rivers in Europe. 

Jedi and Mermaid played loudly with a large turtle float until it burst. Pebbles, wearing goggles for the first time, fished out the empty shells of river clams. Squirrel, trying on a snorkel set, suddenly started swimming the front crawl. Brian swam, dived and explored to his heart’s content.

And I will never forget floating on my back in the gentle current, and looking up at the blue summer sky through the tree branches.


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Par un après-midi torride du début août, nous nous sommes baignés pour la première fois dans le fleuve Loire. Guidés par mes vagues souvenirs de balades dans le coin et par la vue satellite, beaucoup plus précise, de GoogleMaps™ sur le téléphone de Brian, nous nous sommes retrouvés au Chambon-sur-Loire, un hameau situé à 10 minutes de route de notre maison d’été en France.

Juste après le gîte Au Champ Bonheur, nous avons immédiatement pris à gauche, sur l’ancien chemin de halage. Pour éviter d’abîmer la voiture sur cette piste défoncée, nous nous sommes garés sur l’herbe du bas-côté et avons poursuivi à pied. A peine 50 mètres plus loin, une petite sente descendait vers le rivage.

Ce fut comme d’entrer dans une carte postale. Sous le chaud soleil de fin d’après-midi, la Loire aux flots lents reflétait l’azur infini du ciel et la verdure luxuriante des arbres du rivage.

La Loire : souvent inaccessible, toujours indomptée, un des derniers fleuves sauvages d’Europe.

En Haute-Loire, la Loire n’en est encore qu’au commencement de son périple de plus de mille kilomètres pour rejoindre l’Atlantique. Large, calme et pourtant si puissante déjà, elle s’écoule lentement à travers forêts épaisses et gorges étroites. Souvent inaccessible, toujours indomptée, un des derniers fleuves sauvages d’Europe.

Jedi et Sirène jouèrent à grand renfort de cris avec une bouée en forme de tortue, jusqu’à ce qu’elle se dégonfle piteusement. Caillou, portant des lunettes de piscine pour la première fois, dénicha plusieurs coquilles vides. Ecureuil, essayant le tuba, se mit soudain à nager le crawl. Brian nagea, plongea et explora.

Quant à moi, jamais je n’oublierai ce moment où j’ai flotté sur le dos dans le courant, les yeux fixés sur le ciel bleu à travers les feuilles des arbres.

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4. In Lavalette’s dam lake / Au lac de Lavalette

It has become an annual tradition – every summer, we spend an afternoon at the lakeside ‘resort’ of Lavalette, Haute-Loire. Hiring a pedal boat from the sailing club, we head out on the water, far from the beach and designated swimming area. Then, fully clad in our life-jackets, we jump in.

Exhilarating summer fun.

This year, we went on Mermaid’s birthday. My sister Laure and her two sons came along. She was hesitant at first about the two-hour boat rental. ‘You’re missing the point’, I said, ‘we’re not going to be pedalling for two hours…’

Jedi was the first to go in, quickly followed by his cousin A and Mermaid. Squirrel, who last year was too afraid to let go of the boat handrail, had jumped before I could say ‘Go’. Pebbles was happy to just dangle his feet in the water. For the first time in many, many years, I dived, thrilled that my body somehow remembered how to do it.

Following Brian’s lead, Mermaid effortlessly mastered a back flip into the deep water. Her birthday dive.


 

C’est devenu une tradition incontournable de l’été. Chaque année, nous passons un après-midi à la base de loisirs du barrage de Lavalette, sur la commune de Lapte en Haute-Loire. Louant un pédalo auprès de l’Ecole française de voile, nous nous éloignons du rivage et de la zone de baignade surveillée. Là, dûment assurés par nos gilets de sauvetage, nous nous jetons à l’eau.

Bonheur d’été.

Cette année, nous y sommes allés le jour de l’anniversaire de Sirène. Ma sœur Laure et ses deux fils nous accompagnaient. Elle hésitait un peu à louer un pédalo pour deux heures. “Ne t’inquiète pas”, lui dis-je, “nous n’allons pas pédaler pendant deux heures…”

Jedi fut le premier à se jeter à l’eau, suivi de peu par son cousin A et de Sirène. Ecureuil, qui l’an dernier avait refusé de lâcher l’échelle du pédalo, sauta avant que j’ai eu le temps de dire “Go !” Caillou se contenta de battre des pieds dans l’eau. Pour la première fois depuis de nombreuses années, j’ai plongé, ravie que mon corps sache encore comment faire.

Suivant l’exemple de Brian, Sirène maîtrisa immédiatement un saut périlleux arrière. Son plongeon d’anniversaire.

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5. At the Loire springs / Aux sources de la Loire

On 15th August, a public holiday in France, the acorns and I (without Brian, back in Ireland for work) followed my parents to the Mont Gerbier de Jonc (alt. 1,551m/5,088ft), Ardèche. My sister Laure, her partner Yves and their two sons came along.

At the foot of this iconic volcanic dome the mighty Loire River rises… in three different springs, no less! My parents had in mind to locate a bend in the river where my siblings and I went for a dip during a family holiday some 35 years ago.

Driving down from the Mont Gerbier de Jonc, past the village of Sainte-Eulalie, we did spot the narrow concrete bridge which appeared in the background of our family photos. The shallow stream and the countless rocks strewn about the river bed would have been ideal for splashing about and building dams by the shore. Unfortunately this part of the river has become inaccessible as every patch of mountain pasture in the area is now grazed by cattle bred for the AOC-labelled beef Fin Gras du Mézenc.

Not to be deterred, we turned back and found another spot on the young Loire. So close to its source, France’s greatest river is hardly more than a mountain stream, its waters still cold from the rocky depths and from the lack of sunshine.


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Le 15 aôut, jour férié en France, les graines de chêne et moi (sans Brian, reparti travailler en Irlande) avons suivi mes parents au Mont Gerbier de Jonc (alt. 1551 m), en Ardèche. Ma sœur Laure, son conjoint Yves et leurs deux fils sont aussi venus.

C’est au pied de ce suc volcanique symbolique de l’Ardèche que jaillit la Loire… en trois sources distinctes, rien que ça ! Mes parents avaient dans l’idée de retrouver un méandre de la rivière où mes sœurs, mon frère et moi avions fait trempette il y a quelque 35 ans pendant des vacances en famille.

Descendant du Gerbier et traversant le village de Sainte-Eulalie, nous avons repéré sans peine l’étroit pont de béton visible dans nos photos de l’époque. Le large ruisseau ponctué d’innombrables galets aurait été idéal pour mettre les pieds dans l’eau et construire des barrages sur la berge. Malheureusement, cette section de la Loire est désormais clôturée, car tous les pâturages de montagne de la région sont maintenant utilisés pour l’élevage du bœuf AOC Fin Gras du Mézenc.

Pas découragés, nous avons fait demi-tour et découvert un autre lieu de baignade sur la toute jeune Loire. Si près de ses sources, le plus grand fleuve de France ressemble encore à un torrent de montagne, aux eaux encore froides des profondeurs rocheuses et du manque de soleil. 

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6. In the lac du Bouchet / Au lac du Bouchet

You would be forgiven for thinking this is Canada. Yet the lac du Bouchet is nestled among thick evergreen forests in the Devès Mountains of southern Haute-Loire, about an hour’s drive from our French summer house. Its sapphire blue waters fill a near perfectly round volcanic crater. 

After having some sweet nibbles instead of lunch at the Chalet du Lac du Bouchet (what is it about French eateries not serving food after 2pm?!), we walked to the grassy beach. From the lakeside trail, fishes could be seen leisurely gliding in the crystal clear water – see the video below.  

On this gloriously sunny afternoon, the beach was busy with families, but few people took to the cool blue waters. But swimming with the fish made for an unforgettable experience. Oblivious to the cold, we dived and swam under water just to look at the trouts lurking above the rocky bottom. 

And at an altitude of 1208m/3,963ft, this was by far our highest swim of all! 


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On se croirait au Canada. Pourtant le lac du Bouchet se blottit dans un écrin de verdure du massif du Devès, en Haute-Loire, à une heure de route de notre maison d’été. Ses flots bleu saphir remplissent un ancien cratère volcanique presque parfaitement rond.

Après avoir avalé de délicieuses crêpes sucrées en guise de déjeuner au Chalet du Lac du Bouchet (comment se fait-il que, passé 14 heures, tous les restaurants français cessent de servir ?!), nous sommes allés à la plage, surveillée en été. Du sentier qui fait le tour du lac, des poissons étaient aisément visibles dans l’eau d’une clarté incomparable ; voyez la vidéo ci-dessous. 

Par cet après-midi de grand soleil, la plage avait attiré nombre de familles, mais les baigneurs étaient rares dans les flots bleus. Pourtant, ce fut une expérience inoubliable de se baigner avec les poissons. Ignorant la fraîcheur de l’eau, nous avons plongé et nagé sous l’eau pour mieux observer les truites qui rôdaient près du fond rocailleux.

Et à une altitude de 1208 mètres, ce fut aussi notre baignade la plus élevée !

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7. In the Allier River / Dans les gorges de l’Allier

From swimming in a crater lake to splashing under a humongous volcanic rock…

Two days later we went exploring the gorges of the Allier River, in western Haute-Loire. Between the basalt of the Velay plateau and the granite bedrock of the Margeride area further west, the Allier River has gouged deep gorges whose precipitous sides harbour a wealth of wildlife and a surprising number of beautiful heritage villages.

Prades is one of them. Located at the very bottom of the gorges, the ancient town boasts a beautiful riverside beach facing the monumental Roche Servière – a 92m high, mushroomesque outcrop of basalt columns.

There is no restaurant in Prades, so we bought bread and a few goodies from the bakery and had a quick picnic by the river. Less than 30 minutes later, we were in the water. Yet another river added to our summer’s tally.

This being still lunchtime, we had the place nearly to ourselves. Clouds came and went, there was a stormy breeze blowing, and we could hear thunder rumbling in the distance. Swimming and splashing in this majestic setting felt quite special indeed.

An hour or so later more people started to arrive for an afternoon on the beach. Both Mermaid and Jedi went swimming again after a lengthy pause, while Brian and I started packing up. The sun was shining but it wasn’t to last. Soon the wind picked up and the thunder got closer and louder. By the time Mermaid and Jedi came out of the water, it had started raining.

We left Prades only a few minutes later in what had turned into a torrential downpour. Just as Jedi was telling us how much he had enjoyed ‘swimming in the storm’.


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D’une baignade dans un lac volcanique à une autre sous un rocher basaltique monumental…

Deux jours plus tard, nous sommes partis à la découverte des gorges de l’Allier, dans l’ouest de la Haute-Loire. Entre le plateau basaltique du Velay volcanique et le granite de la Margeride, plus à l’ouest, l’Allier a creusé de spectaculaires gorges, restées difficiles d’accès, dont les versants verdoyants regorgent de faune et flore variées et comptent un nombre étonnant de jolis villages historiques. 

Prades est l’un d’eux. Située tout au fond des gorges, cette petite ville millénaire possède une superbe plage sur l’Allier, à l’ombre de la formidable Roche Servière, dont les orgues basaltiques culminent à 92 mètres de hauteur.

A défaut de restaurant, nous avons acheté quelques provisions à la boulangerie de Prades, pour un pique-nique rapide au bord de l’Allier. Une demi-heure plus tard, nous nous étions jetés à l’eau. Une autre rivière à ajouter à notre tableau de chasse de l’été.

Du temps de midi, nous étions quasiment les seuls sur la plage. Les nuages allaient et venaient, une brise fraîche soufflait de temps à autre, et le tonnerre grondait parfois au loin. Quel bonheur de se baigner en toute sérénité en ce lieu majestueux !

Plus tard, d’autres vacanciers commencèrent à arriver pour un après-midi à la plage. Sirène et Jedi repartirent se baigner après une longue pause. Le soleil brillait encore mais ce fut de courte durée. Bientôt, les nuages s’accumulèrent, le vent se leva et les grondements du tonnerre se rapprochèrent. Quand Sirène et Jedi sortirent enfin de l’eau, il avait commencé à pleuvoir.

Quelques minutes plus tard, nous quittions Prades sous une pluie torrentielle. Juste au moment où Jedi nous disait à quel point il avait aimé “nager sous l’orage”.

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8. In Mansigné’s lake / Au lac de Mansigné

This was our last wild swim of the summer. On our two-day road trip back to the ferry in Cherbourg, we stopped overnight at the lakeside resort Base de loisirs de Mansigné, Sarthe, near Le Mans. 

Arriving at 7pm after a six-hour drive in 35°C heat, we quickly checked into our lovely self-catering chalet and changed into our swim suits. We could have opted for the covered outdoor pool, but the lake’s designated swimming area looked too tempting.

So late in the day, the place was deserted. Stepping into the golden water, exquisitely refreshing after the heat of the day, we played ‘shark-tag’ and swam into the sunset. 

By the time we came out, the sun had disappeared behind the trees, leaving the summer sky aglow with pink, orange and blue hues, reflected in the mirror-like lake. 

We slowly walked back to our chalet. Squirrel stood on a wooden pontoon to stare at the glorious sunset colours over the water. As if to reflect on a beautiful summer that was fading away.


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Ce fut notre dernière baignade sauvage de l’été. Durant nos deux jours de trajet pour aller prendre le ferry à Cherbourg, nous avons fait étape à la base de loisirs de Mansigné, dans la Sarthe, près du Mans. 

Arrivant à 19 heures après six heures de route par 35ºC, nous nous sommes rapidement installés dans notre joli chalet au bord de l’eau, avant de passer nos maillots de bain. La piscine extérieure couverte était encore ouverte mais la zone de baignade du lac s’avéra trop tentante.

Si tard dans la journée, il n’y avait plus personne dans l’eau. Entrant dans les flots dorés, délicieusement rafraîchissants après la canicule de la journée, nous avons joué à “requin” et nagé au soleil couchant.

Quand nous sommes ressortis, le soleil avait disparu derrière les arbres, illuminant le ciel d’été d’une palette extraordinaire de rose, orange et bleu, parfaitement reflétée dans le lac devenu miroir d’eau.

Repartant lentement vers le chalet, Ecureuil s’arrêta sur un ponton de bois pour contempler les splendides couleurs du crépuscule sur l’eau. Comme s’il voulait réfléchir à ce bel été qui, comme la lumière, s’estompait inexorablement.

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Reflection / A la réflexion

 

 

Recommended reading

Two of our summer swimming spots, in the Indre River and the river beach at Prades, can be found in Wild Swimming France, respectively on page 244, no 167, and on page 133, no 83. This dazzling travel guide by Daniel Start, published by Wild Things Publishing, is suitable for families and adventurers alike. It 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.


A lire

Deux de nos lieux de baignade de l’été, le Pont romain sur l’Indre et la plage de Prades sur l’Allier, apparaissent 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.

 

Wild Swimmingwild-swimming-in-France France River Lake Outdoors Baignade Nature Plein Air

  

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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68 Responses to “A summer of wild swimming / Un été de baignades sauvages

  • Just gorgeous photos, I want to be in France now! I love how well they are set up for lake swimming there.

    • Thank you Liberty! I find it’s more about the temperature of the water, rather than the set up. I’m going to find it hard going back to swimming in the Irish Sea now…

  • I am such a water baby so this post really appeals to me, the water, the rocks, flowers, fish, just all breathtaking nature. #ExplorerKids
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…what do you do?

    • Growing up in land-locked part of France, I never was much of a water baby, but this is changing slowly now that I’ve become hooked to wild swimming! Thanks for stopping by x

  • Oh my goodness – I love it. We have done a spot of wild swimming in the river Eden before – nobody else was about and it was so thrilling. Sarah #ExplorerKids
    Sarah Stockley recently posted…#ExplorerKids Linky – Week 4

    • To have a beautiful wild place all to yourself is a unique feeling, isn’t it? Wild swimming has become for me a fantastic way to experience nature in yet another way.
      Thank you for hosting #ExplorerKids

  • Linda Boulet
    2 months ago

    Waouh !!! Pas seulement pour les magnifiques lieux que tes photos savent si bien mettre en valeur, mais aussi pour l’idée. Malgré quelques réticences tenaces (en lien avec mes interrogations sur la propreté de l’eau, la sécurité par rapport à la profondeur ou aux courants), me baigner dans des lieux sauvages et peu fréquentés est un truc qui me plairait beaucoup. J’envisage d’ailleurs de me procurer le livre, histoire peut-être de surmonter mes dernières craintes.
    Grosses bises à vous tous.

    • Maintenant que nous sommes devenus une famille de “wild swimmers”, on ne nous arrête plus ! Plus sérieusement, la baignade sauvage est une façon grisante de découvrir des lieux splendides et de connecter avec la nature. Quant à tes réticences, il suffit d’un peu de bon sens pour les surmonter. La propreté des lacs et rivières n’est ni pire ni meilleure que celle de la mer. Si tu le commandes (encore mieux si tu cliques sur le lien dans mon article 😉 ), le livre contient plein d’infos sur la sécurité pour les “débutants”. Et puis tu peux toujours commencer par des lieux de baignade surveillés pour prendre confiance.
      Gros bisous, dans l’attente de voir tes photos de votre première baignade sauvage en famille !

  • Stunning photos! There’s nothing like splashing into an icy cold stream in the hot weather! I have fun memories of going kayaking and then the grand finale being the point where we all jumped into the water. So much fun. #ablogginggoodtime
    Lucy At Home recently posted…The Local Knowledge Guide To North Wales

    • Thank you Lucy! We have yet to go kayaking or canoeing as a family, and I honestly can’t wait.

  • Oh I am so envious this is just fabulous! We are itching to get back to France next summer and we love adventures on or in the water. Pinning this! #Farawayfiles

  • Wow such a comprehensive guide and gorgeous pics, thanks a lot for the inspiration! Loving as well the bilingual content, pinning it for future summers, French language and wild swimming immersions 😉

    • Thank you so much for the lovely comment! Glad you found my post inspiring and helpful 🙂

  • I love this! I grew up swimming in the lake every summer, and this brings back fond memories. I can just imagine you floating along looking up as the clouds slowly move past, or is it you that’s slowly moving past… heavenly! #farawayfiles
    Hilary recently posted…Exploring Bryce Canyon National Park Day & Night

    • Thanks Hilary! I so wish I was back in the Loire right now, floating on my back. The weather in Ireland has been temperamental, to say the least, since we got back…

  • Empty clam shells, beautiful views and a wonderful birthday swim, what a fantastic summer.

    I can’t work out where I would love most.

  • This looks like such amazing fun. I’ve read this twice now and still can’t decided where really is best!

    Thanks for linking up to #ExplorerKids

  • I love that first photo. To me, it captures what summer holidays are supposed to be all about. It’s been ages since I swam in a river or lake, would love to do that with my daughter. #countrykids
    Dean of Little Steps recently posted…Waiting for the Sunset at Widemouth Bay

  • So many fantastic and beautiful photos. Your adventures sound amazing. Those moments when you walk into a scene from a postcard are the best aren’t they.
    #CountryKids

    • Absolutely! We had several of those ‘walk into a postcard’ moments over the summer, and I am so thankful for them.

  • So many lovely locations, so many special memories. What a wonderful summer you have had and this is a great way to reflect back on it, looking at something you all enjoy where ever you go. It really takes me back to our French holidays and swimming in the Gard river in the south. It makes our river here at Coombe mill feel cold by comparison! Your children are having such an amazing childhood, it must make you wish summer could go on and on looking back at these photos.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids
    Fiona Cambouropoulos recently posted…River Camel at Coombe Bridge in September

    • I sometimes wish summer would go on and on, especially as the weather back in Ireland has been less than friendly since wee got back. We all have these precious memories now, and we’ll make plenty more next summer, I’m sure.
      Thank you for hosting #CountryKids x

  • Oh wow so much outdoor swimming and in some stunning places. We are lucky enough to have a lake where we live so the kids always swim in that but I never brave it, I think I would in some of those lakes and rivers though as it looks a lot warmer than here. Mich x #CountryKids
    Michelle Twin Mum recently posted…A Brilliant Birthday at National Trust Blickling Estate, Norfolk

    • Oh you have to jump in with your kids! Wild swimming is utterly addictive, as I discovered to my own surprise, and I’m sure you’ll love it.

  • I love swimming in rivers and lakes! Every summer, we all go out and tube the rivers here in Texas. That one picture of the river where you guys went for your son’s birthday reminds me of the Frio River (https://goo.gl/93pxCR). Love it!
    Christine | The Journey of Christine recently posted…Canoeing in Moraine Lake | Banff National Park

  • wow these photos are stunning that capture such an amazing adventure. We are planning a road trip to the south of france next year and will definitely take some inspiration from reading about your experiences #CountryKids

    • Don’t hesitate to ask if you need some tips, etc., although the south of France is not my area of expertise… Thanks for popping over 🙂

  • What a wonderful thing to do. I would love to visit France again #CountryKids

  • What a wonderful summer you’ve had, Annette! You’ve captured it so beautifully with your words and gorgeous photos. Your children will have such fabulous memories of all their wild swimming in France. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles
    Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) recently posted…Faraway Files #45

  • Looks amazing! Also, I have never read a bilingual blog before- brilliant! I will be following 🙂 #familyfunlinky

  • This sounds heavenly! So many different bathing experiences. I particularly like the sound of lac du Bouchet. I’m a sucker for a pine forest! You’re making me think we need to go back to visit the Loire next summer…. #FarawayFiles
    Nell (Pigeon Pair and Me) recently posted…The Scottish Alternative Games at New Galloway, Dumfries and Galloway

  • Wow. What beautiful adventures you had this summer. I love the pictures.
    #triumphanttuesday

  • Swimming in creeks, river and lakes is what we love most. What a lovely post with so many gorgeous pictures.

  • Wow this looks amazing. What wonderful photos and this is such good fun x #countrykids

  • What a lot of great memories and fabulous photos. We were planning some wild swimming on Dartmoor this summer but the weather never quite performed for us. Cooling off when it’s 30 degrees + is a much better idea. #AdventureCalling

  • I grew up “wild” swimming, but never called it that – it’s just what we did. We spent every summer at my grandparents’ lake cabin in Kansas where we spent the bulk of our time off a rickety old dock with all our cousins splashing in the water. Cut to my children growing up in Oregon and spending the bulk of our summer on the lake with friends and family. I’m happy my kids aren’t afraid to get in water where they can’t see the bottom. As you remember – we swim often in the calm Baltic waters around Denmark. Beautiful post and such a lovely feeling you evoke. Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin #FarawayFiles
    Erin Gustafson | Oregon Girl Around the World recently posted…Oh Dear Cod | Eat This Above the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway

  • I hate water with a passion! But canöe on l’Herault is something I enjoy. I’m not a swimmer but l’Herault’s warm water tempts me in for a paddle. The French rivers are a magnet for families in the summer heat. Your photos are great!

  • Wow, it looks so wonderful. What a wonderful summer of swimming in beautiful places

  • We love France so much. Spent another two weeks there this summer. I would not of thought about wild swimming there at all. We have lots of rivers around us here the children swim in and did not cross my mind to do the same in France. I am missing summer now and France looking at your beautiful pictures!

  • What a lovely idea to collect all your river swims into a book. I live in the Charente in France and we swim in the Charente river every year. There are several trees overhanging the water and the kids’ favourite summer past-time is jumping off its branches. There’s nothing like the tranquillity of an evening swim in a quiet river after a hot day. This is a wonderful, natural blog post and I love the way you’ve taken the time to do it in French and English. #AllAboutFrance

    • Harriet, where you live sounds absolutely idyllic! We live by the sea here in Ireland, where the days are rarely hot and the water rarely quiet. But swimming in it still feels wonderful. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      • And there was me thinking Ireland sounded idyllic! Anyway, nice to meet another person who loves nature and the wild outdoor life, and I look forward to reading more posts from you on #AllAboutFranc.

  • Wow! Your photos are stunning! My kids would adore this. Time to plan a holiday

  • We absolutely loving swimming in rivers in France in the summer. We live close to the coast so the beach is our first stop always, but sometimes, especially in August when there is a lot of traffic we will head inland instead and find a quiet river and laze around and swim for an afternoon. Great photos.

  • This blog took me back to my childhood summer holidays swimming in rivers and lakes in France. It’s funny that we never really did it at home but always during our three weeks away. I have taken notes of the locations for our next trip!

  • Wow – so much wild swimming. I love paddling in clear river water but I must admit it is many years since I got more wet than that! As for our Normandy sea, yes, it is wonderful and my boys have even been in it on Boxing Day (yes, they are mad!), a bit further west than you at Ouistreham. #AllABoutFrance

  • Wow! So many gorgeous and AMAZING photos. Looks like you had a really great summer.
    Thank you for joining #FamilyFunLinky
    Alana – Burnished Chaos recently posted…10 Simple Ways to Unwind

  • Wonderful photos. Wild swimming is so much more satisfying than swimming in a pool. We swam in the Dordogne once many years ago when it was blisteringly hot and we were on holiday. Now, we live in France (and yes, we have a swimming pool). I love running water and really wish we lived beside a river, but we are on a dry plateau. Some great rivers not far away, though. #AllAboutFrance

  • How beautiful are your photos? These make me want to copy you and have a go at will swimming too!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week.
    Mrs Mummy Harris recently posted…Thank You For Raising A Gentleman.

  • We will have to go wild swimming next time we are in France. This year we’ve experienced very little in water sports. #AdventureCalling,

  • All your photos are just lovely, portraying a simpler style of family holiday than so often seen nowadays, and it’s exactly what we like to do too. We love swimming in lakes and rivers and jumping from rocks. For us it’s just swimming, I’ve never thought to label it wild swimming, but I suppose it is just that. We’re lucky to be surrounded by many mountain rivers near home and we swim in them loads during the summer when the crowds are on the Côte d’Azur beaches. This is such a lovely idea to collect all your wild swims into one post. Thanks for sharing with #AllAboutFrance
    Phoebe | Lou Messugo recently posted…All About France #31

  • What a stunning post, it makes me want to go and dive into a lake (and pretty sure I can’t dive!). I love the stunning scenery of France and all the amazing places you found to swim. I’m sure there are many people reading this who have been inspired to give wild swimming a go. Thank you for linking up with #AdventureCalling

  • Whata summer! I’m definitely going to make a concerted effort to take my lot out next summer after seeing this. These spots look amazing. Thanks for the recommended books too – I’m just about to order one. Thanks for joining us on #adventurecalling I hope you can join us again tonight when it opens again.
    David – Potty Adventures recently posted…#Pottyadventures Instagram Community Roundup Week 44

  • Lovely write up, and what a super idea to base a trip around wild swimming spots! One of my first ever wild swims as a child was in the Loire valley, I remember waterfalls and a water snake swimming in the river. We wild swim over here in the Lake District in the lakes and tarns, and love those Wild Things guides too. 🙂

  • What an amazing trip, your photos are absolutely stunning! I love the idea of wild swimming (we used to swim in the sea all the time when I was a child) but, as I got older, I seem to have lost my fearlessness. Now I even worry about fish! #wanderlustkids

  • Lovely pictures! Such a beautiful place! Would love to do something like that!

  • Wow, that sounds like the most perfect summer! #wanderlustkids

  • This is truly amazing! Fab photos. Bookmarking this for travels in France as I never realised there were so many beautiful wild swimming spots! My boys would love this! #wanderlustkids

  • Some beautiful swimming spots here – lovely photos! #wanderlustkids

  • Wow, what an incredible way to spend the summer. So any beautiful places to swim and let the kids cool off. I never knew there were so many places to take a swim. And I’d never paid much attention to the Loire and the region around it before, but you’ve sparked my interest! Thanks for linking up. #wanderlustkids

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