Are you going to France any time soon? Are you looking for something exciting and exhilarating to try after you’ve seen amazing art and tasted amazing food? We’ve put together a list of 10 amazing activities you can try if you’re looking for something a little different. Vive la France!
For this list, we’ll be looking at some of the most thrilling, unique and unforgettable experiences to be had across the country of France. For those with a thirst for pulse-pounding adventure… this is for you.
10: Sea Kayaking
When you think of the French Riviera, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For most people, it’s beautiful architecture, picturesque pebbly beaches and world-class dining. But wherever there’s water, one also finds opportunity for adventure. And despite the area’s upscale and elegant reputation, this iconic coastline has a wild side to it – one that can be revealed with a few strokes of a paddle. In your kayak, you’ll uncover the secrets of the French Riviera, including untouched stretches of pristine wilderness, beaches and coves that cannot be reached other than by sea, and snapshots of the area’s fascinating history.
9: Indoor Skydiving
The sensation of falling through the sky is just about one of the most thrilling that a person can experience. For many, however, the idea of throwing themselves out of a plane is simply too much to handle. With indoor skydiving, you get the unbelievable experience of falling, but without terrifying heights or the sense of danger inherent to conventional skydiving. In the controlled environment of a roughly 40-foot tall chamber, you can not only get a first taste for this extreme sport, but also learn techniques that, in the context of conventional skydiving, would require many, many hours of practice and a substantial investment. Plus, the fact that, say, the wind tunnel is made of transparent glass and located the in Vill’Up shopping center in Paris gives the whole experience an extra bit of novelty.
8: Ice Diving
For many, the concept of heading underwater with merely a sheet of ice separating you from fresh air is daunting. But armed with a lifeline, an oxygen tank, a trained professional to guide you through the experience and an access point to the surface always in sight, there’s really nothing to fear. In fact, the moment you plunge below the ice covering the lake in Vanoise National Park, it’s like you’ll have entered an entirely different world – alien, beautiful and utterly surreal. People assume that the ice blocks out the sun, but are usually pleasantly surprised to find that the light of the sun filters through the ice to give this underwater world an ethereal ambient glow. Of course, if you want to take the experience to the extreme, there is an option to go for a night dive.
7: Bungee Jumping
For those who like to mix beautiful settings with unparalleled thrills, you’re hard-pressed to find a more perfect combination than this. At the Verdon Gorge, you’re not just bungee jumping in the South of France, you’re throwing yourself from a landmark— the impressive Pont de L’Artuby. From your jumping off point on the bridge (which also goes by the name Pont de Chaulière), you’ll plummet towards the Artuby River below, only to safely rebound at the moment when your adrenaline is at its highest. After your unforgettable leap of faith into the Gorge, take a moment to really soak in the panoramic view and beauty of the area. Of course, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence isn’t the only place to go bungee jumping in France. In Normandy you can take a similarly heartstopping plunge from the Souleuvre Viaduct.
Canyoning isn’t one single activity, it’s a half-day to multi-day journey made up different exciting activities and experiences. As you explore the canyons of Pissarde, Infernet or Furon Bas near Grenoble, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, you need to adapt and learn new techniques in order to navigate the ever-changing environment. Some obstacles will require time, presence of mind and slow, deliberate movement. Others involve the use of a zipline, or you might be invited to leap from a rock ledge into the water below! Rappelling, hiking, swimming, riding natural waterslides – a canyoning adventure in Grenoble is the experience of a lifetime.
France is an underrated scuba diving destination. And whether you’ve got half a day to spare, or you’re a diving enthusiast looking to spend a week in waters you’ve yet to explore, the undersea world of Bay of Villefranche will not disappoint. From the Grotte à Corail in Cap Ferrat to the Grande Baie off Nice, there’s no shortage of beautiful dive spots rich in aquatic life to be explored. And while scuba diving is sure to thrill, for something extra special, consider taking a crash course in freediving; even relative newcomers to the technique can learn to dive pretty deep in not too long. Are your ready for the challenge?
There’s nothing quite like soaring amongst mountain peaks to give you a new perspective. Safe in the experienced hands of an expert paragliding pilot, you can take to the skies above the picturesque Chamonix valley for a 20 to 30 minute flight that you will never forget. Every flight is unique, but it’s pretty much guaranteed the image of Mont Blanc will be etched into your mind long after your feet return to solid ground. As you weave in and out of the clouds at soaring heights, your guide will give you an aerial tour of the scenery and (depending on the package you choose) may even do some pulse-pounding acrobatics!
3: Land Sailing
We highly recommend that you make your way to Normandy, where an experience unlike any other awaits. Land sailing (also known as sand yachting) involves sitting in a three-wheeled buggy with a large sail, which is used to both propel the vehicle and steer it. Using the power of wind to move across dry land is a unique sensation to say the least, and when you see the sort of expert maneuvers that more experienced land sailers can perform, we suspect that you’ll soon find yourself hooked. You’re sure to find yourself lost in the moment as you cruise along the sand, but don’t forget to take in and appreciate the setting; Mont-Saint-Michel Bay is known for its dramatic tides and its world famous abbey.
Let’s get back to the water! For great rafting, the Dranse River is breathtakingly beautiful, and you’ll want to keep yourself focused on the task at hand as you and your fellow rafters navigate the rapids. From beginners to experts (or all-out adrenaline junkies), the Dranse has something to satisfy all skills levels and degrees of comfort, from more scenic stretches to white-knuckle thrill rides. For those looking for something truly extraordinary, you might consider trying your hand at “hydrospeed” (a.k.a whitewater swimming). An extreme sport in the truest sense, it involves swimming downstream armed with nothing but a padded wetsuit, helmet, flippers and a foam float or board.
1: Hang Gliding
The Haute-Savoie region of southeastern France is famously beautiful, but you’ll get a whole new appreciation for it when you take to the sky for a bird’s eye view. After launching from a take-off site above picturesque Lake Annecy, you’ll be instantly rewarded with uninterrupted views of not only the lake itself, but also the surrounding mountains, Bout du Lac nature reserve, the Thiou River, and of course, the town of Annecy. It’s known as the “Pearl of the Alps”, and when seen from above, this town shines even brighter. And note that your guide can tailor your ride to your specific comfort level, whether you prefer smooth gliding or some high-flying acrobatics.
Well, there you have it. 10 pulse pounding activities you can attempt on your next trip to France. Strap on your courage and take that leap! Happy travels.
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