Rivers
Canoeing and Kayaking on : River Allier

The River Allier is a stunning place to go canoeing in the Massif Central in France.

The Allier is a whitewater river, but many of its sections are low enough in grade to allow fun canoe or kayak touring. There are plenty of grade 1 and 2 trips to be had, with a smattering of superb grade 3 sections.

As well as natural rapids, there are a number of weirs with "glissieres", or canoe shoots.

Further upstream there is some excellent grade 3 and 4 whitewater kayaking to be had.

The Allier is well equipped for canoe camping, with campsites along the banks, and numerous hire companies in the area. It can be busy in the height of summer, but not as much as rivers such as the Ardeche.



Paddle Point
Saint-Ilpize, France

Easy put in or get-out next to the campsite below Jazindes.

Paddle Point
43380 Saint-Cirgues, Haute-Loire, France

Very pleasant Grade 1 paddling through some excellent scenery.











Paddle Point
Bellerive-sur-Allier, France

Get out here and portage over the parking lot to the other side of the road.
On the main road don't enter the terrain of the slalom track immediately but take the entrance a bit further left so you end up on the left bank of the slalom track.

Don't forget to take a trolley... 800 meter (and some) portage

Paddle Point
Vichy, France

Portage river left a few 100 meters before the weir (at the docks).

Paddle Point
Bressolles, Allier, France

End of natural reserve

Paddle Point
Châtel-de-Neuvre, France

Get out immediately after the bridge, river left. Cross the field (far right corner), there's a gate to the camp site.
They even have a wheel barrow to carry your stuff :)

Don't exect much, but you also don't pay much...

Paddle Point
Monistrol-d'Allier, France

6.1 miles of grade 3- (3+)

Recommend you purchase the fantastic book White Water Massif Central by Peter Knowles for more information

Paddle Point
Prades, France

8.9 miles of grade 2+

Video of this trip can be seen here:
http://is.gd/T1pUlE

Recommend you purchase the fantastic book White Water Massif Central by Peter Knowles for more information

A few images from this section.



Prades and the amazing basalt rocks at the put int








Paddle Point
Saint-Bonnet-de-Montauroux, France

10.9 miles of grade 2(3)

Known as 'the Jewel in the Crown' for paddling in the Massif Central.

Video of the trip can be seen here:
http://is.gd/frAiUX

Recommend you purchase the fantastic book White Water Massif Central by Peter Knowles for more information

Outstanding paddle in a stunning, remote gorge.

A blog of the trip on Song of the Paddle: http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?46572-The-Jewel-in-the-Crown-and-the-Death-of-a-Legend

Just after the start



First grade 3



In the gorge.



Rock dodging
Paddle Point
Langeac, France

10.2 miles of Grade 1-2

Some images









Below the 1st glissiere in highish water





Paddle Point
Saint-Haon, France

First of around 3 grade 3 rapids of the day, depending on levels.








Paddle Point
Saint-Loup, Allier, France

Start of natural reserve. No wild camping from this point all the way to Moulins

Paddle Point
La Ferté-Hauterive, France

Parking at the river bank with easy access in the middle of the natural reserve.

There is a height restriction barrier now at the entrance to the car park. We were lucky though, as even though it was closed, we noticed it wasn't locked so we opened it to go through and closed it again after.
Paddle Point
La Ferté-Hauterive, France

Camp site on the bank of the river, but the bank is high and steep (3 meter, almost straight down, with only some kind of ladder). Not really an option with canoe and gear.

Paddle Point
Yzeure, France

Portage is river left, but long and difficult to get back to the water from the road.

In low levels there are two fish steps left and right that can be paddled if you have experience with WW (explore from the bridge), or you can walk up to the lip (right side) and let the canoe down there.

Paddle Point
Saincaize-Meauce, France

Shortly after Apremont-sur-Allier.
Portage left (be aware of strong currents close to the left part of the weir, so get out a good distance from the weir), or over a dry part of the weir river right in low levels.

There is now a platform for portage and a series of steps on the right side of the weir as you approach it from the top. The steps are quite high, so not the easiest, but better than getting caught in the current near the sluices to the left. Worth getting out river left after the weir to take a look at the circular lock.
Paddle Point
Gimouille, France

Portage left, or explore and keep river left (get out, explore, walk up to the weir and pull canoe over).

This is a rocky weir and in the low levels we had, impossible to shoot. Agree with digger, portage left.
Paddle Point
Cuffy, Cher, France

Portage river left, under the bridge. Or explore and line the canoe through the fish step.

Paddle Point
Varennes-sur-Allier, France

Passage under bridge is left, but watch out for debris.

Paddle Point
Marcenat, Allier, France

Easy shootable weir. Pass river right.

Paddle Point
Saint-Christophe-d'Allier, France







Paddle Point
Saint-Haon, France

18km of grade 2(3)

Known as 'the Jewel in the Crown' for paddling in the Massif Central.

Video of the trip can be seen here:
http://is.gd/frAiUX

Recommend you purchase the fantastic book White Water Massif Central by Peter Knowles for more information:

Paddle Point
Alleyras, France

Get-out at the public beach next to the campsite.

Paddle Point
Monistrol-d'Allier, France

10km of Grade 3-(3+)

Paddle Point
Prades, France

campsite "les escargots bleus"

Paddle Point
Prades, France

15km of Grade2+

Video of this trip can be seen here:
http://is.gd/T1pUlE

Recommend you purchase the fantastic book White Water Massif Central by Peter Knowles for more information:

Paddle Point
Prades, France

Almost immediately after the put-in is a bouncy rapid which sweeps around a left-hand bend - great fun :-)

Paddle Point
Prades, France

Public swimming area...usually roped off.

Paddle Point
Prades, France

River makes a tight turn to the left. A few rocks to avoid on the route through the rapid.
Easy landing on the beach [left-hand side] to inspect or portage.



At slightly higher levels.





Paddle Point
Langeac, France

Fun glissiere [canoe shoot] on the right hand side of the weir.




Slightly bonkers this one, with a drop at the bottom, expect a swamping in higher water. Eddy downstream recirculates strongly and takes you back into the weir in such levels.

Paddle Point
Langeac, France

Paddle Point
Langeac, France

Get-out on the left-hand bank just near to the start of the campsite at Langeac: http://www.campinglangeac.com/

Paddle Point
Langeac, France

17km of Grade 1-2

Recommend you purchase the fantastic book White Water Massif Central by Peter Knowles for more information:

An excellent days paddle with a couple of glissieres down the weirs.

In higher water, the glissiere at Chambon, a two stage drop, washes out and becomes a bit boily. As the river then runs fast down a narrow, tree-lined channel, this is worth an inspection as at these levels it would come at the top end of grade 2.
Paddle Point
Langeac, France

Paddle Point
Langeac, France

Alternative get-out if you are staying at the campsite http://www.campinglangeac.com/

Paddle Point
Aubazat, France

Glissiere left hand side of weir at Le Chambon, quite technical, easy to land prior to this and inspect or portage.

Can wash out in higher levels, and the channel downstream runs fast through trees so worth inspecting as it approaches the top end of Grade 2.




Paddle Point
Aubazat, France

Easy glissiere at Chilhac.

Same weir at higher water level. The shoot is harder to align because the water flow is at an angle...
Paddle Point
43380 Saint-Cirgues, France

Get out at this beach prior the bend around Lavoute Chilhac.

Paddle Point
43380 Lavoûte-Chilhac, France

Paddle Point
Saint-Ilpize, France

Paddle Point
Villeneuve-d'Allier, France

Paddle Point
Vieille-Brioude, France

Portage right

Paddle Point
Vieille-Brioude, France

Paddle Point
Vieille-Brioude, France

Portage left

Paddle Point
Vieille-Brioude, France

Small park. 100 m walk to car park

Paddle Point
Vézézoux, France

Paddle Point
Vézézoux, France

Don't miss the get-out in front of the campsite. Difficult get-out because there's only two small platforms for fishing in a steep bank.

Alternatively there's an unofficial entrance from a gravel island at the back of the campsite. (entrance to the front entrance over a narrow footpath along the river bank)

Paddle Point
Orsonnette, France

Camp site with access to the river. Possible to park cars during a trip.