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EN – FAQ2024-02-01T13:28:41+01:00

How to prepare for your descent of the Ardèche?

How to prepare for canoeing down the Ardèche at Vallon Pont d’ Arc? Discover the Viking Bateaux FAQ, full of tips and tricks for an unforgettable descent.

Preparing your descent of the Ardèche

The Viking Bateaux team has compiled a list of questions regularly asked by our customers about our routes, navigation conditions and difficulties on the water, payment methods and bivouac reservations. We hope this FAQ will help you prepare for your canoeing trip down the Ardèche.

All about the descent

Who can descend the Ardèche?2023-08-24T17:21:34+02:00

The activity is authorized by the public authorities from the age of 7 for anyone who can swim. All minors must be accompanied by a parent and/or a qualified instructor.

Are descents dangerous?2023-12-11T12:41:55+01:00

Descending the Ardèche is not dangerous in itself, as long as you observe the basic safety rules: never leave your lifejacket on, never dive or jump into the water recklessly, and never rush your boat into the rapids without first assessing the trajectory.

Nevertheless, to be safe on any river, you need to know how to calculate the risks according to your knowledge and skills, and take into account all the recommended safety instructions. That’s why we’ve created this FAQ, to help you prepare for your canoeing trip down the Ardèche.

Are the Ardèche rapids really fast?2023-08-24T17:24:31+02:00

In its longest stretch of 36 km, you’ll find a total of around 25 rapids of varying difficulty along the Ardèche. In reality, only a few of these rapids will really require your full attention to avoid capsizing and ending up in the water.

We recommend that you carefully follow the introductory briefing given by our instructors before departure, and consult the extensive information on our website about the Ardèche rapids.

What equipment do you need?2023-08-24T17:24:36+02:00

– Swimsuit, shorts and T-shirt,
– Depending on the weather, windbreaker or wetsuit (loan available),
– Suitable shoes that hold your feet,
– Avoid flip-flops or flip-flops, which are lost in the event of a fall,
– Hat or cap,
– Sun protection cream, remember the sun’s reflection on the water,
– Sunglasses with cord,
– For prescription glasses, bring an old pair in case of a fall,
– A change of dry clothes,
– A picnic lunch,
– A minimum of 1.5 liters of water to keep you hydrated,
– A rubbish bag for your garbage to take back to the landing stage,
– Don’t take any valuables with you!

How does a raid work?2023-12-11T12:41:55+01:00

Before you do anything else, be sure to read our FAQ: How do I prepare for canoeing down the Ardèche?

Start by visiting the Viking Bateaux base at Vallon Pont d’Arc in the Ardèche: don’t worry about parking, you can easily park your vehicle in our free private parking lot.

Then go to reception either to make an on-site reservation, or with your online reservation voucher. From now on, we’ll take care of everything!

Once your reservation has been confirmed, and after you have familiarized yourself with the river’s landmarks and safety conditions, we will transport you to the respective landing stages for each descent. You’ll take possession of your boats, complete equipment and paddles after an initiation and a final safety briefing. You complete your route according to the conditions and times specified. At the end of your trip, we’ll take you back from the respective landing stages to our base, where you’ll be reunited with your vehicle.

What equipment does Viking Bateaux supply?2023-08-24T17:25:20+02:00

In all cases, we will equip you with a life jacket, which is compulsory on all boats navigating in the Gorges de l’Ardèche.

We will then provide you with a canoe or kayak of your choice, an asymmetrical double paddle with different blade orientations, as well as a 25 or 55-liter watertight canister (not watertight for important personal items) with handles on the lid, food-grade HDPE, screw-on lid to carry your personal belongings, picnic, change of clothes, etc., as well as a watertight canister (not watertight for important personal items) with handles on the lid. Here’s a tip to avoid leaks: tighten the canister lid firmly before each start!

Are dogs allowed on canoes?2023-08-24T17:25:42+02:00

Yes, faithful companions are welcome and will always find a free place on the canoes (only on the 6 and 12 km routes), on the sole condition that they are perfectly controlled by their owner.

Book with Viking Bateaux

Why choose Viking Bateaux?2023-12-11T12:41:55+01:00

With over 20 years’ experience in canoe and kayak rental in Vallon pont d’Arc, Viking Bateaux stands out from other rental companies thanks to its quality service and total customer care. Precise briefings, free transport and parking, checked equipment and a team that cares.

What are the different price categories?2023-12-11T12:41:55+01:00

The Adult price applies to people aged 13 and over. The Child price is reserved for children aged 7 to 12. The Child in 3rd place prize is reserved for children aged 7 to 12 positioned in the center of a canoe, between the two normal places. The Group price is a discount for groups of 10 to 20 people. The Internet price is a special discount if you pay in full online by credit card.

On-site or online booking?2023-08-24T17:33:38+02:00

If you book at one of our Vallon Pont d’Arc sales outlets, the basic in-store rate will apply. If you book online and pay by credit card, you have 2 options: either pay a deposit of 30% and settle the balance on the day of your descent, or pay your booking in full online.

30% deposit or full payment?2023-08-24T17:33:54+02:00

Save with Viking Bateaux! If you pay for your entire booking online by credit card, you can benefit from the special Internet rate! A very special rate indeed, since it can offer substantial immediate discounts per person!

Why do you offer a special Internet rate?2023-12-11T12:38:06+01:00

A sold-out booking allows us to better plan our daily organization. By anticipating your booking, you also save us time, allowing us to focus on the services we’re committed to. So it’s only logical that you should benefit directly from our downhill prices.

What are “normal seats” and “central seats”?2023-12-11T12:37:47+01:00

In practice, canoes are really equipped with 2 seats, located at the front and rear: these are the so-called normal seats. They can be occupied by adults, or by an adult and a child aged 7 and over.

The 3rd center seat is therefore a seat located between the two normal seats, and can only be occupied by a child aged between 7 and 12. This unconventional but very practical place for groups and families benefits from a single preferential rate for all descents, except for descents with bivouacs.

Where can I find Viking Bateaux?2023-12-11T12:38:06+01:00

The Viking Bateaux sales outlet in Vallon Pont d’Arc is a quick and easy way to book a wide range of sports and leisure activities for you and your family or friends: descents of the Ardèche river, accrobranche park, paintball, canyoning, caving, via ferrata…

Pavillon Viking Bateaux, 416, Route des Gorges, Vallon Pont d’Arc

You can find our contact details on our contact page.

How to prepare your bivouac?

What is a bivouac in the Gorges?2023-08-24T18:00:05+02:00

A bivouac is a rudimentary camp where you can spend the night in the wilderness. Although bivouacs often require the use of a tent, sleeping unprotected – commonly referred to as “sleeping under the stars” – is also a bivouac, as is eating in the open air. In the Ardèche, wild bivouacs are forbidden.

Strictly forbidden within the entire perimeter of the Réserve Naturelle Nationale des Gorges de l’Ardèche, wilderness bivouacs are a source of serious disturbance to the natural environment (noise, fires, trampling, garbage dumping, etc.) and pose significant risks to those who practice them (flooding of the Ardèche, fire).

Where are the authorized bivouacs?2023-08-24T18:05:20+02:00

Two former farms, located in the heart of the Ardèche Gorges, were created in the early 80s to enable visitors to spend a night in the Nature Reserve.

The Gaud bivouac, the largest and least frequented, is one-third of the way along the route. The Gournier bivouac, recommended for hikers, is halfway down the descent. With basic comforts (sanitary facilities, cold showers, communal barbecues with charcoal supplied, tables, drinking water, first-aid station), these bivouac sites offer ideal conditions for staying in the heart of nature. Please respect the silence and tranquillity of the premises.

How do I book a bivouac?2023-12-18T11:46:41+01:00

Bivouacs in the Gorges de l’Ardèche are strictly regulated! To make a bivouac, you need to book your place with the Ardèche Gorges Tourist Office.

Advice from Viking Bateaux

Plan and choose your descent carefully2023-08-25T14:08:38+02:00

Before embarking on your adventure, take the time to plan and prepare your canoe trip down the Ardèche. Find out about the different routes available, their levels of difficulty and distances. Be sure to reserve your canoes in advance, especially if you plan to come during the high season. Advance planning will optimize your time and ensure that you have everything you need for a smooth and enjoyable experience.