Geocaching is a sort of treasure-hunt mixing a tourist trail with orientation. ‘Treasures’ are hidden all over the world and you can find them thanks to their GPS coordinates and a clue. It is free, very entertaining and children love it.
Volvestre is particularly full of ‘geocaches’ (more than 80 in May 2013) and you can find its hidden beauty spots while going from one treasure to another, from ‘la part de tarte de tante Betty’ (a slice of Betty’s pie) in Carbonne to the orientation table in Montesquieu-Volvestre, via the ‘pont du Diable’ (Devil’s bridge) in Saint-Christaud and the Tourasse in Rieux-Volvestre.
The ‘treasures’ are most often plastic boxes containing a logbook, a pen and inexpensive trinkets. If you take one, make sure to replace it with another, for future finders. You should write a note in the logbook and then do the same on the website. Intrigued? If so, register on the website and find a GPS-enabled device such as a hiking GPS or a smartphone with the equivalent app. There is even a Geocaching app for iPhones, Windows Phone 7 and Android telephones. Happy hunting!
Starting from Carbonne, Salles-sur-Garonne or Saint-Julien-sur-Garonne, you will find a marked safe cycling trail beside the Garonne. The most experienced cyclists can even carry on to Valcabrère or Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges. You can return to your departure point by train, as the railway network follows the Garonne valley (for further information, contact the relevant train station). While preparing for your trip, you can buy a detailed map of the cycling route from www.cartovelo.com.
If you want to hire a bike in Toulouse, for one or several days, you can find one at ‘Maison du vélo’, 12 boulevard Bonrepos (opposite Matabiau station), 05 34 40 64 72, email@example.com. A hybrid or mountain bike will be more suitable than a city or a racing bike.
In Rieux-Volvestre, Salles-sur-Garonne or Carbonne, on the banks of the largest man-made lake in Haute-Garonne, called ‘retenue de Mancies’, you can discover the delights of watersports or fishing. With ‘Club nautique de Carbonne’ (Carbonne’s watersport centre), you can learn how to row or windsurf, use a canoe or a kayak, sail a catamaran, a dinghy or an Optimist. Qualified activity leaders will look after your safety and guide you whatever your level of experience (http://cocnautisme.wordpress-hebergement.fr/). You can also sail and row at the ‘Club nautique de Rieux-Volvestre’ (www.usrvoileaviron.fr). Groups of adults or children can book activities by the half-day.
For serious fishermen or simply for a relaxed family outing, Volvestre offers a diversity of rivers and lakes. You are bound to find the perfect spot!
• Carp fishery in Peyssies: two lakes have been landscaped with leisure and picnic areas. Access for people with reduced mobility.
• In Carbonne, on the banks of the ‘lac de Barbis’ (2nd category): designated fishing areas for able and disabled people.
• In Rieux-Volvestre, you can fish on the quiet banks and meandres of the Arize river.
• In Montesquieu-Volvestre: designated fishing areas for children and fishing pontoon for disabled people at the Couloumé park.
Fishing permits are for sale from the ‘Fédération de pêche’ or any of the three local tourist offices.
Leave your troubles behind and fly over Volvestre onboard a gyrocopter! This way, you will take in the diversity of our landscape from above. From the village of Bois-de-la-Pierre, two qualified pilots are available to fly you or the person of your choice (think birthday presents!) throughout the year. For the past 30 years, during the Pentecôte weekend, gyrocopter and helicopter enthusiasts gather together to demonstrate their skills. This event is open to the public and free. For further information, contact Jean-Marie Varga : varga.jm(at)orange.fr
For those interested in paragliding, the centre in Gouzens offers tandem flights with an instructor in the Pyrenean foothills (from 11 years old, 60€) or five-day training courses: initial training on the hills of Montesquieu-Volvestre and the nursery flying zone of Gensac-sur-Garonne, followed by two days of proper flights near Foix, Arbas or Luchon (475€). Five-day master courses for experienced paragliders are also offered (470€).
Contact Muriel or Stéphane: www.parapenteattitude.com