Extreme Sports in France

Extreme Sports in France

Get your adrenaline rush with our list of Extreme Sports in France.

Experiences

From paragliding to cliff diving, pick your extreme sport here.

France is a country of mountainous terrain, stunning beaches and inspiring cityscapes, making it the perfect place to try out some of the world's most extreme sports. To get you inspired for a sportier getaway, we've put together a guide to the best extreme sports and their locations, from parkour to white-water rafting.

Parkour

Parkour is a gymnastic-style sport that was born out of France's military obstacle courses, which involved men and women using their bodies to manoeuvre over barriers. The origin of the sport is traced to David Belle, who founded parkour in the 1990s by joining forces with other gymnastic daredevils. Avid parkour practitioners can be found running up walls in Paris, jumping off and around them, and vaulting their way over obstacles.

Between July and August every year, the Parkour Generations (one of the leading professional organisations) set up a camp in the French Alps that teaches and trains parkour practitioners. The camp is available for both beginners and advanced levels, and is the perfect opportunity to train in a true French extreme sport.

Will you try out parkour during your next holiday to France

Will you try out parkour during your next holiday to France?

Surfing

The South of France has some of the best surfing locations in Europe, and the city of Biarritz is one of them. The Biarritz coast is six-kilometres long, and features six beautiful beaches that provide visitors with lush golden sand, and undulating waves. The Grand Plage is the city's most popular beach, and surfers flock to the beach's shores to take advantage of the fat rolling peaks and good conditions.

If you turn out of Biarritz and continue along Anglet's coast, you'll come across another great surfing location, Cavaliers Beach. Known around the world for its strong waves, this spot is also a popular setting for professional surfing competitions, which take place across the year. On top of this beach having fewer crowds than the Grand Plage, it also provides surfers with a good swell and impressive peaks.

Test the waves of Biarritz's coast

Test the waves of Biarritz's coast

White-water rafting

If you've always wanted to try out white-water rafting, or just want to hone your skills, enjoy a trip to Alpes-de-Haute-Provence in South Western France, one of the best rafting destinations in the country. A popular spot with both beginners and advanced rafters is the Ubaye River, a place that is renowned for its breathtaking views, such as the vast woodland and sky-high mountain peaks. During your trip, you'll be able to take on the river's many rapids, such as the aptly named Shark's Tooth and Spring Roll, which will really test your ability.

Another great river is the Guil, which is located just outside of the Écrins National Park. One of the most beautiful rivers in France, it also had strong rapids and deep canyons to keep you on your toes. For a real challenge, make sure you descend on your raft, which will provide ample views of the nearby scenery and a chance to take on the famous Triple Chute.

Take on the rapids of the Guil River

Take on the rapids of the Guil River

Cliff diving

If you're known for being a bit of a daredevil, a great way to get your next adrenaline rush is by having a go at cliff diving. One of the best spots for this in France is along the Massif des Calanques, a stretch of rugged cliffs between Marseille and Cassis. Ranging in different heights and difficulties, the cliffs here are often dotted with divers from around the world, who come to enjoy the beautiful sunshine

On top of the great weather, divers can look forward to plunging into deep pools of turquoise water and exploring the sea life that inhabits the nearby reefs. But, make sure you check out the depth of the water before you dive in; if too shallow, you could be risking serious injury.

Dive into the beautiful waters of southern France

Dive into the beautiful waters of southern France

Flyboarding

Invented in France by watercraft rider Franky Zapata, in 2012, the flyboard is a recent invention that has taken the world by storm. The flyboard works by forcing water under the board you're standing on, propelling you into the air, where you may even reach a height of 10-metres.

In the city of La Rochelle, in South Western France, they've recently established a couple of flyboard rental companies, where you can use the boards by the hour. Be wary though, rental charges can be quite high, so make sure you shop around first.

Do you dare to flyboard

Do you dare to flyboard?

Paragliding

For impressive bird's eye views of the captivating French countryside, dare to fly through the skies during a paragliding trip. A top spot to try this out is Lake Annecy, an azure lake situated in Haute-Savoie that is surrounded by beautiful green hills. Adrenaline Parapente is a company that specialises in helping visitors achieve their dream of gliding over the lake, and they'll be able to provide you with suitable training and guidance for your big jump.

As an experience, you can expect to run at a speed (with your instructor attached) until the air catches your wing, flying you into the air. Once in the sky, you'll find yourself slowly gliding over the aquamarine lake, jagged cliffs and vast countryside. Just take a deep breath, and enjoy the ride.

Paraglide over France's beautiful countryside

Paraglide over France's beautiful countryside

Getting there and around

With Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. it only takes 35-minutes to cross the Channel, meaning you'll be jumping from planes, hopping over walls and taking on the waves of Biarritz in no time at all.

These extreme sports are incredibly exciting, especially with the proper guidance of a certified instructor. Make sure you err on the side of caution during your next adventure holiday, in order to be safe and have plenty of fun.

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Photo Credits:
Take on the rapids of the Guil River
Raft your way through the Ubaye River's rapids
Will you try out parkour during your next holiday to France?
Test the waves of Biarritz's coast
Do you dare to flyboard?
Dive into the beautiful waters of southern France
Paraglide over France's beautiful countryside

All pictures licensed for commercial use at time of publication.

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