We were looking for a bit of an adventure for our summer holidays this year, and to share with the girls the joy of travelling by train. So we came up with a wild swimming road trip around Southern France. We took the direct Eurostar to Lyon – an amazing journey from St Pancras that got us into Lyon in time for lunch. We stayed in the old town, and that afternoon went for our first swim in the not very wild, but very good Rhone Pool, now called the Centre Nautique Tony Bertrand.
We then picked up a rental car from the Lyon Part Dieu railway station and headed south. Our first proper wild swim was at the majestic Plage de Labeaume on a beautiful tributary of the Ardeche river. It was busy, but on a hot day the deep cool water on a bend in the river under towering limestone cliffs was an amazing first experience.
Our next destination was one of our highlights. Mazet Plage was harder to find, and very quiet and remote. But after a short walk through the woods you came on a pebble beach looking over the river. The clear water deep water was warm and the river very wide at this point. Crossing over to the limestone buttress on the other side there were grottoes that you could swim into. And there were some death defying jumps. Kayakers kept coming past, looking enviously at us and we realise that we were far happier in the water than on it.