Book Review: Wild Swimming France by Daniel Start

Published/Revised on September 16, 2012·

 I recently had the pleasure of reviewing Daniel Start’s latest publication, Wild Swimming France , which was released on May 1st, 2012. Perfect for families and outdoor adventurers, Wild Swimming France introduces the reader to off-the-beaten-path natural aquatic wonders— from rivers, to lakes, to waterfalls, to ponds, to aquifers— located in 14 regions throughout the country.

Wild Swimming France The book contains all the practical information you need to know about these 400 “wild swimming” locations, including maps, detailed directions, grid references and walk-in times. Wild Swimming France also includes practical safety tips and convenient recommendations for canoe trips, bike rides, campsites, local restaurants, bistros and farm shops (because you’re bound to be hungry after all that swimming).

After you’ve been in the travel writing business for a while, most guidebooks start to look the same— not Wild Swimming France. This 256-page guidebook is a cut above the rest. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the aesthetics of this book. You know those books that just feel good to hold? This is one of them—it’s just thick enough, and the high-quality pages turn easily. As a soft-cover volume, it’s easy enough to throw in a backpack and take with you. And then there’s the gorgeous photography— stunning, varied, clear— enough to induce extreme wanderlust, even in a matter of just a few pages.

Rock pool from Wild Swimming France During my time living and traveling throughout France, I have visited all of the regions covered in the book (Jura, Central Alps, Alpes-Maritimes, Corsica, Haut Var, Haute Provence, Vaucluse, Verdon, Ardèche, Langudoc, Cévennes, Corbières, Roussillon, Pyrénées, Lot, Célé, Aveyron, Dordogne, Loire and Normandy). Wild Swimming France has given me a new lens through which to view (and travel) them, and I can’t wait to return— swimsuit and guidebook in-hand.

Wild Swimming France Author Bio: Daniel Start is an award-winning writer and photographer, author of Wild Swimming (2008) and Wild Swimming Coast (2009). He has spent the last three years camping and swimming in France, seeking out its natural wonders and getting sunburnt along the way. Married with a baby daughter, he works as an environmental consultant and lives at the confluence of two rivers in rural Somerset.

More information about the Wild Swimming series

Written by Jen Westmoreland Bouchard for 

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