Imagine a hot sunny day in a secluded spot, surrounded by dramatic cliffs and gently rustling trees. You poise for a moment, then leap from a low rock into clear, sparkling water, rise to the surface, swim under a rushing waterfall and whoop with the sheer joy of being alive in such a beautiful world.
Are you in a scene from the Blue Lagoon? In some faraway Shangri-La? No - you are in France, making full use of Daniel Start's beautiful and practical new book, 'Wild Swimming France'. As Daniel points out, France has not only one of the most diverse and magnificent landscapes in Europe (aren't we always telling you that?) but also the cleanest rivers, lakes and waterfalls. Add to that reliably hot summers and, he says, you have the perfect recipe for reconnecting with nature on a low-cost, healthy, sustainable holiday.
This book builds on the success of Daniel's previous Wild Swimming books, which inspired two TV series, and is aimed at a wide audience of families, Francophiles who want to get off the beaten track and adventurers in search of the wild and spectacular. The information on places to swim is usefully arranged by both region - complete with maps - and by type, with categories such as canoeing and boating, waterside food and camping along with the different types of swim. For these, the headlines alone are enticing, including skinny-dipping, jumping, blue pools and canyons, arches and formations.
With all the practical, need to know stuff in place and available at a glance, the book then proceeds to wow with gorgeous colour photographs on every page. While those at the chapter openings are quite general, the images within the chapters illustrate specific locations - which themselves total no less than 400 - and are clearly captioned, giving the reader an idea of what to expect from almost every swimming spot listed.
No less than fourteen regions are included, with Jura and Normandy/The Loire being the furthest north and Corbieres and Roussillon among the furthest south, so there's plenty of potential for combining wild swimming adventures with your stay at a self-catering country gite or villa in France this summer.
Win your own copy of the Wild Swimming France book! We have two copies to give away, so enter our prize draw now.