Proven to provide great health benefits, wild swimming is more popular than ever and there are plenty of wonderful spots away from the sea to try. Here are five to tempt you into the water…
Associated with fantastical chateaux, world-class wines, the Loire river needs no introduction! But Chenonceaux chateau arches over the river itself so offers a rather special spot and stunning backdrop for a swim, especially at sunset. It’s like swimming through French history! From Chisseaux just take the D40 road bridge and follow the footpath 10 mins downstream along the left bank of the river downstream. Try the sandy riverside beaches at St-Aignan and the quiet riverbanks of Chatillon-sur-Cher. This three-bedroom farmhouse located towards Blere is a great base from which to explore the river.
Pont d’Arc, Ardèche
The Ardèche might be famous for kayaking and canoeing but stretches of this 125km river are also wonderful for swimming. Its geological features make it a fascinating place to explore. On its lower reaches sits a natural arch that’s been formed over many tens of thousands of years. The river flows through as it makes its way through this set of cliffs. This three-bedroom stone house in Saint-Paul-le-Jeune even has a swimming pool for those super-keen baigneurs…
Lac d’Annecy, Haute-Savoie
Hot springs make this a gorgeously warm and stunning lake, and Annecy is a very special place. It’s perhaps France’s most famous swimming lake, with the backdrop of the Alps to admire, vivid aquamarine colour, and lovely beachside cafes and restaurants. This three-bedroom stone farmhouse is within easy reach of the lake.
Pont du Diable, Hérault
We’re off the lovely Languedoc and a river runs through it… Why not cool down during sun-baked summers with a dip in the River Hérault that rushes through its rocky narrow gorge and under the Pont du Diable (Devil’s Bridge) where it slows down to form a small lake. There’s a great river beach too with convenient parking and access. This four-bedroom house in a charming medieval village is under €200k and only 20 minutes from the beaches of the Med – incroyable!
Park Pombonne, Bergerac, Dordogne
Bergerac remains one of the UK’s most searched-for property hunting locations. Of course, it sits on the renowned Dordogne river, but there’s a fantastic clean wild swimming lake situated in a small nature reserve in Bergerac with a small sandy beach, shallow and deep areas, a café, and parking. This three-bedroom charming stone Perigordian-style house is also a great price.