Are you ready for the summer holidays?

The great European holiday exodus has begun, with tens of millions leaving desks and schoolrooms behind to enjoy everything this amazing continent has to offer. With myriad great city break destinations, glorious national parks, wonderful art galleries and a superb range of leisure activities – from canoeing expeditions in the Ardèche to windsurfing in Ireland – Europe really is the perfect place for a holiday. The big cities naturally draw the crowds – London, Paris, Rome, Madrid and Berlin – but Europe has lots of smaller urban gems, from Renaissance Florence to Baroque Prague and Art Nouveau Brussels, not to mention long-time favourites like Ghent, Oxford, Amsterdam and Barcelona. If you’d rather escape to the country, the continent’s varied landscapes are your oyster! The hill country of Tuscany, the Alpine peaks of Switzerland and Austria, secluded Portuguese and Scottish beaches, and last, but not least, the stunning countryside of the world’s most popular tourist destination, France!

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Ardèche – the jewel in France’s natural crown

France is spoilt for beautiful scenery, but the Ardèche area in the south of France is a particularly stunning region of sun-kissed limestone hills and valleys, through which the Ardèche River runs, passing through dramatic gorges. This makes it perfect for canoeing, especially for inexperienced canoers. Due to the absence of very challenging rapids, it is also suitable for children (aged 7 and over). The pleasant summer climate makes it no particular hardship to camp out, which is what many will do when embarking on this kind of canoe trip.

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