HELP AND ADVICE
To prepare your next descend of the Ardèche river, ALB Canoes brings you some tips to accompany you on your journey! Have fun without any danger!
Who can make a descend on the Ardèche river?
It is accessible to anyone over the age of 7 who knows how to swim. It is imperative that a parent or a legal guardian accompany the minors.
Are there any dangers to descents?
As long as the essential safety rules are respected, the descend of the Ardèche river is safe: it is imperative to always wear your lifejacket, not to jump or dive into shallow water and to evaluate the trajectory before steering the boat into the rapids.
However, regardless of the river, it is important to use your knowledge and capabilities to calculate potential risks all while taking the recommended safety guidelines into consideration.
Are the rapids of the Ardèche river really fast?
There are a total of 11 rapids to cross along the Ardèche river when taking the longest route of 36km. Among these rapids, a few will require all of your attention so as not to capsize and fall into the water.
It is recommended to follow carefully the briefing given by the instructors before departure, a lot of information about the rapids of the Ardèche river are also available on our website.
What equipment do you recommend?
- Shorts, T-shirt and a swimsuit
- Windbreaker or all weather combination (possibility to rent) depending on the weather conditions.
- Suitable shoes
- No flip flops or sandals that you will lose in case of a fall into the water.
- Cap or hat
- Sunscreen (reflection of the sun on water)
- Sunglasses (with safety cord)
- If you wear eyeglasses, it's best to have an old pair in case you damage them.
- Replacement dry clothes
- A picnic
- A minimum of 1.5 litres of water
- A garbage bag for all your rubbish to take back to the disembarkation point.
- Don't bring valuables!
Is there enough water on the Ardèche river to use the canoe / kayak
There is always water in the Ardèche because its water level is regulated by an EDF dam, located upstream. From April to September, the appropriate level is usually maintained during the summer period.
For more information on the subject, you can check the flow of the Ardèche river at any time by visiting the Vigicrues website published by the Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development.
How does a descend play out?
First of all, you have to go to the ALB Canoe pavilion located in Saint Martin d'Ardèche: our private car park is at your disposal to easily park your vehicle. Then go to the reception, with your printed booking voucher or to make your reservation directly on site. Then we take matters into our hands!
It is after a briefing on landmarks, conditions on the river and safety rules on the river that we take you to the respective piers at each descent.
After an introduction and receiving the latest safety advice, you take possession of the equipment, paddles and your boats. Your descend is carried out in the conditions and time pre-determined. Once you have completed your descent, we will transport you from the respective landings to our pavilion where you can pick up your car.
What equipment is provided by ALB Canoe?
A canoe or kayak is available depending on your choice as well as a double asymmetrical paddle with different orientation of the two blades, a waterproof 25 or 55 liter barrel of PEHD food quality with handles. It has a screw-on lid so that your personal belongings, picnic and spare clothes (etc.) are protected. To be sure of waterproofing the barrel, the lid must be tightened before every departure!
How do I find the arrival areas (landings)?
The arrival areas of the descents are very easily recognizable although they are not indicated per se. You have to look for a large concrete slab on which boats, vehicles and trailers of different rental companies are present. Our buses are usually located at the beginning of each arrival area, and it is with a friendly reminder such as "ALB Canoes, here!" that our drivers will invite you to stop.
What are the shuttle schedules?
Departure times are fixed: at 8am for descents 24 and 32 km, at 10am for descents of 8 km, 12 km, 32 km and 36 km over 2 days.
Return shuttles do not have fixed schedules, as will be explained to you during the briefing. It depends on the arrival of customers at the landings that shuttle departures are organised.
Upon arrival, you will have to check-in with the ALB Canoe driver who has the reservations listing. When the buses are full and the trailers loaded with the boats, they will leave the landing site.
Are dogs allowed on canoes or kayaks?
Your faithful companions are welcome, outside of the nature reserve, provided they are perfectly controlled by their owners, a small seat can always be found on board the canoes, free of charge.
Bivouac in the Gorges
What is a bivouac in the Gorge de l'Ardèche ?
It is a rudimentary camp that allows you to spend the night. Bivouacs often require the use of a tent, but they can also be unprotected, "under the stars" or for eating outdoors. Unauthorized bivouac is punishable by law in the Ardèche.
Bivouac camping is strictly forbidden on the whole of the National Nature Reserve of the Gorges de l’Ardèche, this is because things such as noise, fires, garbage depots, trampling are a source of significant disturbances for the natural environment not to mention that it can put people who practice it at risk(fire, flood).
Where do these authorized bivouacs take place?
It is in the heart of the Gorges de l’Ardèche that two former farms were transformed in the early 1980s for people who wish to spend the night in the Nature Reserve.
The largest and least frequented is Gaud's bivouac, which situated at one-third of the way down the descent. For hikers, the Gournier bivouac is recommended, it is halfway down the descent. These bivouac areas, although of a basic comfort (cold showers, sanitary, collective barbecues with coal supplied, drinking water, tables, emergency station) offer very privileged conditions for a stay in nature. Respect for silence and tranquility of the area is important.
How do I book bivouac tickets?
It is at the vallon Pont d'Arc reservation centre that you can reserve your bivouac. It is located at the very beginning of the tourist route of the Gorges de l’Ardèche, at the roundabout of the gorges.
ALB canoe reservations
What are the different price categories?
The Adult tariff applies to anyone aged 13 and over. The Children's tariff is for children between the ages of 7 and 12. Children positioned in the center of a canoe, between the two normal seats, are considered under the Children's tariff in 3rd seat. Groups of 10 to 20 people will benefit from a discount. Finally, the Internet price is a special discount for Internet users paying their full online booking by credit card.
Book on-site or online?
When the booking is made at our point of sale of Saint martin d'Ardèche, the basic rate will be applied. If you choose for online booking and you choose payment by credit card, you have two options: a 50% down payment, followed by the payment of the remaining balance at the time of the descent, or full payment.
50% down payment or full payment?
If you pay your reservation in full by credit card, the special Internet fare applies and you get an immediate discount! ALB Canoe allows you to save money on descents!
Why do you offer a specific Internet tariff?
Our daily organization is optimized thanks to this discounted booking method. We save time by anticipating your arrival, which allows us to devote ourselves to the services we promised you. It is therefore logical that you can enjoy special rates of our descents.
What does "normal seat" and "central seat" mean?
The normal seats are the two seats at the front and back of the canoe. They can be used by two adults or one adult and one child over the age of 7.
The central seat is located between the two normal seats but it does not have a base, and can therefore be occupied by a child between the age 7 and 12 max. This is an unconventional place but can be very convenient for families and groups benefiting from unique and preferential rate for all descents (except descents including a bivouac).
for motorsport fans !
Is Stéphane Sarrazin coming to ALB Canoe?
It is true that Stéphane Sarrazin regularly visits the ALB Canoe pavilion. The French and internationally renowned racing driver (WRC, Formula 1, Endurance, Formula E...), is indeed from the region.
Stéphane regularly visits us to tell us about his exploits on the tracks! Are you, like us, a fan of motorsport? Signed cards from our favorite driver can be handed out to you with our compliments!