Rafting in France: the 5 best rivers

Whether you’re looking to go on a thrilling adventure, a nice outing, or an epic friends trip, rafting in France can offer you all these things and more. All you have to do is choose a destination and your ideal offer.

But choose wisely, as there are no less than 10 000 km of rivers in France! All of which can also be explored by families, as all the spots we’ve included in this article have family-friendly offers. To help you make a decision, the CheckYeti team has prepared an overview of the 5 best rivers for rafting in France that will help you find your perfect rafting trip.

Gorges du Verdon

The Verdon river, situated in southern France, is one of the most famous and popular rafting destinations in Europe. The Gorges du Verdon is known as the “Moyen Verdon”, the middle part of the river, and is located between Castellane and the Samson Corridor. Although this area has no difficult routes, rafting on the Verdon is an incredibly scenic experience: turquoise blue water, massive limestone cliffs and a breath-taking natural heritage await you there.

  • Easy & moderate tours
  • Minimum age: 6 years
  • Meeting point: Castellane
  • Highlights: Barre Saint-Jean & The Solitaire rapids, the 200m-high limestone formation Roc de Castellane 
  • Other activities: canoe-rafting

Lake Serre-Ponçon

Lake Serre-Ponçon is a beautiful artificial lake in the southeast of France and one of the largest reservoirs in Western Europe! Its tributaries are the Durance and Ubaye rivers which both offer great conditions for fun and action-loaded rafting trips.


  • Easy & moderate tours
  • Minimum age: 7 years
  • Meeting point: Embrun or Saint-Clément-sur-Durance (depends on chosen tour)
  • Highlight: the famous Rabioux wave
  • Other activities: hotdog canoe (inflatable two-seater), airboat (inflatable one-seater), hydrospeed (white water floater)


  • Moderate & difficult tours
  • Minimum age: 8 years
  • Meeting point: Lauzet-Ubaye or Méolans-Revel (depends on chosen tour)
  • Highlights: Ubaye has over 60 rapids (some of them are class V!)
  • Other activities: canoe raft & hydrospeed

Dranse River

The Dranse river winds through the Alps to the infamous Lake Geneva and is formed from three rivers: Dranse de Morzine, Dranse d’Abondance and Brevon. And let us tell you, when these three join forces to become one Dranse, the reason why this river is one of the best rafting destinations in the Haute-Savoie area becomes crystal clear.

  • Easy & moderate tours
  • Minimum age: 8 years
  • Meeting point: Thonon-les-Bains
  • Highlights: hydrospeeding, the rapids “Passage de l’escalier” (stairs passage), the “Passage de la pile” (stack passage) and the “S”-spot
  • Other activities: hydrospeed

Nive River

Located in the heart of the Basque Country, the Nive river is one of the most popular rivers for rafting in France. It was here, in Bidarray 25 years ago, that the first rafting base in the Basque Country was founded. Today, the river is just as beautiful as it was then and offers great rafting tours. Little plus: due to its proximity to the ocean, the water here is never very cold.

  • Easy & moderate tours
  • Minimum age: 5 years
  • Meeting point: Ixtassou or Bidarray (depends on the chosen tour)
  • Highlights: breath-taking canyons such as Atekagaitz & passing the most beautiful cities of the Basque Country
  • Other activities: mini raft, canoe raft, hydrospeed

Isère River

Our final spot lies in the beautiful Tarentaise valley which is also a very popular destination in winter as it is home to some of the most famous ski stations such as Les Arcs and La Plagne. The charming village of Bourg-Saint-Maurice is also right there! But enough talk about winter, the valley is also where you’ll find one of the best-known rivers in the Alps: the Isère river. Its name means “lively” or “tumultuous”, and it’s an ideal destination for adventurers who want to enjoy an action-packed rafting experience in France. 

  • Easy, moderate & difficult tours
  • Minimum age: 8 years
  • Meeting point: Landry/Aime/Montgirod/Mâcot (depends on chosen tour)
  • Highlights: the rapids of Aime and Centron, the Pucelle gorges
  • Other activities: canoe raft, hydrospeed

Discover two secret spots

CheckYeti has two secret recommendations for you: rafting on the Gave de Pau and rafting on Le Chalaux. The Gave de Pau river can be explored through a diverse range of activities such as hydrospeeding, canoe-rafting, mini-rafting and tubing. It offers easy and moderate tours for participants aged 7 and up and will lead you through exciting passages like strong rapids used in national and international competitions.

Located a 3.5h car ride from Paris, Le Chalaux is a river that winds its way through the beautiful Morvan Regional Natural Park. Here, participants from the age of 10 can enjoy hydrospeeding and canoe-rafting, or private rafting tours of moderate difficulty.

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