Gave d’Oloron River
Location: Southwestern France
The warm air of the Mediterranean surrounds southwest France, supporting ancient olive groves and famous wineries. The “Pyrenees-Atlantiques” department, or region, (home to the Gave d’Oloron River) lies on the border with neighboring Spain.
Level of Difficulty: Class II / Beginner
River rafting trips on the Gave d’Oloron are Class II and family friendly. The region is also known for salmon fishing.
Scenery: French Villages, Olive Groves, and Mediterranean Vineyards
One of the unique features of Gave d’Oloron river rafting trips is that they flow past historic and charming villages. Laas is a tiny village with an agriculturally-based economy and dotted with houses crafted of local stone. Navarrenx dates to the 11th century and its 16th century fortifications are some of France’s best surviving examples of architecture from this period. Another interesting village is Sauveterre de Bearn, which dates to the Middle Ages. Although it was a former pilgrimage route, important for religious reasons, its surviving architecture isn’t as impressive as that in Navarrenx. The canyon itself offers views of green valleys, and steep cliffs.
Season: April – November
Gave d’Oloron River trips are typically short, one day affairs running from April to November. Those looking for longer itineraries will find several companies that offer multi-day trips combining rafting and other water sports.