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Get out into nature for cheap and fulfilling adventure

A new French project inspired by a British adventurer aims to provide inspiration and suggestions for nature-based activities which do not involve travelling far from home or paying much.

‘Micro-adventures’ in Paris, for example, include listening to the rutting cry of stags in Rambouillet forest, enjoying stand-up paddle surfing, or going longboarding (a kind of large skateboard) by a river.

The project is run through a website, called Chilowé to evoke ‘chill away [from home],’ and was co-founded by former lawyer Thibaut Labey, 32, after a four-month €30,000 trip by tuk-tuk motorised rickshaw through 17 countries from Cam­­bodia to Paris with two friends…

“Back in Paris I thought I’d be bored and never have such a sensational time again.”

However, he then went on a long bike ride through France that “took three hours’ planning and cost a few hundred euros” and was equally satisfying.

“When I heard about micro­adventures – a term invented by Briton Alastair Humphreys – it tied in. You can have amazing experiences, outside in nature, with discoveries and pushing your boundaries, with a minimum of time and organisation and not far from home. It’s about living better with less.”

Chilowé was created with fellow outdoors enthusiast Fer­d­in­and Martinet and they have 15,000 subscribers to a France-wide activities newsletter plus Facebook groups in 10 cities.

They release a Paris guide this month with others planned for Nantes, Marseille, Lyon and Bordeaux after a crowdfunding campaign for the Paris book raised more than €33,000, four times more than the target.

“We raised our target in under five hours, which showed there’s a real need out there – people need to get out into nature and in Paris they don’t know where to go,” Mr Labey said.

People who join can try outings such as canoeing the Loire or a Vercors snow­shoe trek or even a challenge such as a bike ride to find a regional speciality.

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