If there are many places to practice canoeing in Gironde, three main spots are essential: the Leyre, the Ciron and the Dordogne river.
Nicknamed the Little Amazon, the Leyre is a wild and discreet river which rises in the middle of the Landes before flowing into the Bassin d'Arcachon, 90 km further.
As you glide over the clear, amber-colored water, you'll feel like you're in the middle of the Guyanese jungle, slaloming between tree trunks and skirting clumps of osmondas. The canoe descents are mostly done in the shade of oaks and alders whose leaves let in a few rays of golden light. Sailing on the Leyre in a canoe is an invitation to slow down: the current carries you slowly and no noise disturbs the sweetness of the moment.
The Gironde Eyre crosses 6 towns: Belin-Béliet, Lugos, Salles, Mios and its delta runs between Biganos and Le Teich, it should be noted that each of them constitutes a point of departure or arrival for canoes. There are many full-day or half-day routes. And for the most passionate, there are beautiful navigation routes from 2 to 5 days! www.canoesurlaleyre.com
The Ciron rises at the eastern end of the Landes de Gascogne, digs into the plateaus forming the “Ciron gorges” from Préchac to Villandraut, then flows into the Garonne at Barsac. Its gallery forest ensures a constantly very cool temperature for its waters. The ambient humidity provided by the Ciron promotes the appearance of morning mists favorable to the development of “Botrytis cinerea” on the vines: this is the whole secret of the Sauternes vineyard.
The combination of the availability of wood and the hydraulic force of the river also attracted industries over time (mill, paper mill, glassworks, forge, hydroelectric power station) of which there are still many traces that punctuate the landscapes.
All these characteristics offer a great diversity of sites to discover or activities to practice: the castle of Cazeneuve, canoe trips from Bernos-Beaulac, Bommes and Villandraut, the visit of the fortress palace of Pope Clement V in Villandraut, the discovery of the Bordeaux Wine Route in Graves and Sauternes.
Finally, the Dordogne, which was classified as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO on July 11, 2012, offers places suitable for canoeing from Libourne to Sainte-Foy-la-Grande.