There are not many activities more invigorating than wild swimming – either after a long day trekking or simply for the fun of it, cool waters always tempt you in. So when I was sent this book on wild swimming in France, I was intrigued to see if its author, Daniel Start, was able to communicate the experience in words and pictures.
And he has. As well as some useful geo info and a region-by-region review of the best spots, there are images here that remind you just what a special feeling it is to be swimming free.
Lakes and rivers smell. It’s a distinctive, natural odour that pervades – a bit like that found in any sea or ocean – and reminds me of summers past…
Still, to get to the best spots you often need to rock-hop your way across, or trek a short way from the road.
Over 250 pages Daniel’s compiled all the practical info (grid references, road maps, entry points and nearby campsites) you’ll ever need.
Each of the 14 provinces included get covered in detail – that said, most of the swimming spots shown are in the South of France.
There are in-depth dip reviews and quality photography throughout, documenting the waterfalls of Jura and the Central Alps as well as the south coast and Corsica.
The ‘Swims at a Glance’ section helps you find safe spots to jump in, as well as lakes and rivers where there’s no need to worry about loosing your shorts or bikini – or even wearing them in the first place!
I’ve sat in the rock pools of Rennes-les-Bains and can recommend them as a therapeutic soak.
Although, if you are after more adventurous immersions, and are planing adventure holidays in France this summer, be sure to pack a copy of this book and seek out wilder challenges.
My pick for the more adventurous are the lakes beneath the high Pic du Midi d’Ossau in Pyrenees-Atlantiques and for the more meditative, the Gorges de Baudinard (p.96) below Lac de Ste-Croix.
All images ©Daniel Start
You can also find out more about wild swimming and ebook versions of this and other titles, here: Wild Swimming
For more adventure travel info and guides, check out: Adventure Sports Gear: Penknife or Multitool?/ Top 10 travel apps for iPhone, iPad and smartphones / The Ultimate List of Extreme Sports / Airline weight restrictions: what every traveller needs to know/ The Rise of Gastro Adventuring
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