VSF French Summer Camps 2017


Horseback riding Itinerary through the South Aveyron region!


Group PONY RANDO AGE 10-14 

Theme: "Equitation et Aventure"

Travel back in time, allowing your mind and imagination free rein to wander… Enrich your understanding and rummage through history within the setting of a fortified château, a prehistoric cave or simply in nature! Every forest, village and path is part of Nature’s own treasure that reveals the vestiges of this rich regional heritage at every turn.  

Crystal clear springs, mountains torrents and peaceful lakes make l’Aveyron an ideal spot for horseback riding.  Here, a network of trails leads visitors through lush green landscapes, while châteaux, chapels and Romanesque churches bring echoes of the history and faith that have shaped the lives of local inhabitants. 

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Aveyron, a land of inspiration!
You are looking for refreshing spaces, pure air and protected nature?
Sensations, running waters and outdoor activities?
You love archeology and medieval history?
Escape yourself and discover one of the most beautiful regions of France. The dry lands of the
Limestone plateau of the Larzac, the beautiful landscapes of the Cevennes' foothills, the green valleys of the Gorge de la Dourbie and of the Valley of Cernon.

Welcome the Aveyron and the land of the knights Templar!

Horseback riding Itinerary (Raid Equestre)

During this horseback riding itinerary our campers will live a unique experience from which they will keep unforgettable memories!  

As they travel through the Causse of Larzac to the Causses of the Cevennes (highlands going from 700 to almost 1 500 meters in altitude). They will learn, under the supervision of professionals, how to control their speed, their direction, and their balance, but they will also learn how to take good care of their horse/pony.  

They will be divided in 2 teams (by age group), and through this trip, will be stimulated by the variety of situations encountered. A real bond will be created between the children and the animals as they discover together the magnificent country side of France and the land of the Knights Templar!

DAY 1:

Arrival at the Montpellier train station and transfer by shuttle bus to the Domain of Gaillac.  Arrival, presentation to the group, set up of the campsite (camping on the farm), swimming pool session and dinner. 

DAY 2:

In the morning, our campers will meet their horse/pony.  They will plan their trip and itinerary learning how to use a map and they will prepare their equipment to leave on their trip the next day to « l’Hospitalet du Larzac ».  In the afternoon: horseback riding trip (3 hours /15 kms) to discover the area. When they return to the camp site the group will enjoy some time at the swimming pool before dinner (Night at the Domain of Gaillac).

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DAY 3:

Departure In the morning, preparing and caring for the animals and we will depart on a 4 hour trip (20 kms) to «l’Hospitalet du Larzac». Today we  will ride on the old railroad, crossing the National forest of the Larzac.  Discovery of the Canoles (geologic peculiarity of the limestone plateau). Night at the Camping « Halte & Repos », barbecue at the camp site!

DAY 4: 

Departure in the morning to the Valley of Cernon (4 ½ hours horseback riding trip, 25 kms). Traveling through medieval villages and beautiful landscapes. The group will ride along the Via Aurea river named by the Romans « la Voie de l’Or ».  Visit to the  Templar city of Ste Eulalie de Cernon, one of the most well preserved Templar commanderies in France! Night at the Camping « Halte & Repos». Dinner and stargazing in the evening!

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DAY 5:

Departure in the morning (3 ½ hours, 17 kms) through the Dourbie Gorges (canyon) to Nant. Built around his monetary (dating from 926 A.C.), Nant is a beautiful village, located in the heart of the "Causses and Cévennes" territory. It was listed as a World Heritage site by the UNESCO in 2011.  We will explore the village and set up camp at the camping « Les 2 Vallées ».

DAY 6: 

Horseback riding trip on the limestone plateau of Causse Bégon (4 hours, 18 kms) one of the smallest limestone plateau of the region. We will ride above the Roc Nantais and descent to Cantobre (visit of the beautiful hamlet of Cantobre), return towards Nant. Night at the camping « Les 2 Vallées ». Relaxing time, sunbathing by the pool, and games!

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DAY 7: 

Departure in the morning to Randal Bisons (5 ½ hours, 25 kms), riding through Montredon (José Bové’s Farm) then down to the Dourbie River, swim and picnic at the river!  Afternoon we will ride on the Black Limestone plateau (le Causse Noir) until we reach Randal Bisons Buffalo Ranch. Night and dinner on the farm.

DAY 8:

Day at the Randal Buffalo Ranch (2 ½ hours horseback riding on site). Visit of the ranch and a horseback riding session among cows and bisons, like real cowboys!  Night and dinner on the farm.

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DAY 9:

Departure in the morning to St Jean du Bruel (4 ½ hours, 24 kms). Descent through the Gorges du Trévezel, the border between the Gard and Aveyron regions. Night at the « Camping de la Dourbie ». Laundry day! (not so much fun!).

DAY 10:

«Sur les traces des Camisard» (3 hours, 15 kms): Horseback riding itinerary through the Cévennes forest on the municipality of St Jean du Bruel where terrible battles between Calvinists and Catholics of the parish of Nant took place. Swimming and picnicking at the Dourbie river. Night at the « Camping de la Dourbie ».


DAY 11:

Today our group of campers will ride (3 ½ hours) through the land of the Knights Templar and will visit the Château d’Algues. They will study the history of the Knights Templar and the crusades as they ride through the Larzac Plateau to the famous Medieval city of La Couvertoirade! Return to the Domain of Gaillac for the night.

DAY 12:

Today will be a relaxing day where we will play team sports, review the photos we took during our trip and enjoy a nice barbecue dinner and "End of Camp party" of course!  Night at the Domain of Gaillac.

DAY 13:

Time to pack!  Group meeting and transfer by shuttle bus to the Montpellier train station.  END OF CAMP SESSION.

Special Notes: 

Our program is run by experienced and certified horseback riding instructors.
To participate in this camp program,
campers must be intermediary or advanced riders. 
They must be able to walk, trot and galop long distances!

Regarding Transportation:
Dates for this camp program are different than for all other VSF Camp programs.
Parents must bring their children directly to the camp or meet the camp staff at the train station in Paris on the days of drop off and pick up. No  other options possible.


> Activities will be scheduled according to the wishes of the children 
and the proposals of the teaching staff.


DURING THIS CAMPING ITINERARY children will camp overnight in different camping sites in the region. The daily transport of the provisions (meals), luggage and equipment, is taken care of by the camp.

Mid-day picnics are also delivered by the camp organization. Dinners will be prepared by the campers and the camp counselors each night.

A collective spirit and the participation of each participant is required!

VSF camp was a place where I learned about friendships, medieval times and horseback riding. A place where I strengthened my knowledge of the French language, discovered places unknown to me and learnt about the French culture. It was an experience I will always remember.

 Caroline V. Age 12, (USA)


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