Find the coolest spots in France in heatwave

two people swimming in pool under waterfall
Take care approaching this beautiful waterfall and pool at Sillans-la-Cascade in Var as it has a dangerous access

As large parts of the country wake after a night of high temperatures we offer some of the best spots for wild swimming

Paris and parts of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie woke up to temperatures in the high 20s this morning as the heatwave saw little fall in night-time temperatures.

The orange heatwave alert has been extended to 67 department and Météo France has warned that the hot weather will disintegrate into thunderstorms this afternoon

And, with readers looking for ways to keep cool, we remembered a book we featured previously, Wild Swimming France by Daniel Start – which gives some of the coolest spots in the country.

From ancient craters to secluded hot springs and natural gorges, Daniel Start has compiled a guide to 400 of the most astonishing swimming spots in beautiful hidden locations.

waterfall with person diving into pool
Sillans la Cascade Main Pool, Var

Daniel said: “When I thought of my love for France it became natural to look at doing a book where the water is even cleaner and warmer and still just a train ride away.

Remember, safety first if you want to find any of these beautiful and enchanting cool pools…

“If you are using swimming holes, dealing with currents or jumping into gorges it is essential to have worked out an escape plan. It’s a bit like on an airplane you look to see where the emergency exits are, you do the same on the water.

“Look where the current will take you if you cannot swim against it – if you are whisked downstream it gives peace of mind to know there are no dangers further down such as a waterfall and if you swim to the side you can get out.”

people swimming in gorge with blue-green water
Pont de la Cerise in the Esteron valley in Alpes-Maritimes
blue-green rock pools with swimmer
The Cascades de Purcaraccia in Solenzara, Corsica
book cover with woman swimming in lake
Front cover of Wild Swimming France by Daniel Start

Daniel Start’s book Wild Swimming France is available as a print book for £14.95 from and as a pdf version for £6.99. It is also available for Kindle and epub. It has been translated into French and German – it is a best-seller in Germany – plus as iPhone and Android apps.

Covering pools from Normandy to Corsica, he introduces many of the lesser-known areas of France.

The swimming holes vary from the tranquility of Ardèche river pools to the aquamarine beauty of the gorges of Provence and Corsica.

He looks, too, at the remote spots where you can still find hot-spring pools, plunge pools with high cliffs and long canyons where you drift downriver in complete calm.

The book took four years of constant holidays in France to compile and it made him think of what a precious, beautiful resource fresh water is.

To read more on Wild Swimming France, see our interview with Daniel Start, France's secret pools, where he talks about what started his search for the best swimming holes in France.

woman swimming in green pool with waterfall
Gouffre de Cerisier in Hérault
Swimmer enters water in pool under mountains
Lac de Hauts - Gave de Gaube at Cauterets, Hautes-Pyrénées

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