10 of the best places in France for paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing

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Turquoise seas, tranquil canals and glacial lakes … France offers some of the world’s most scenic paddling routes

When I first visited Corsica, I hiked down the spine of the Corsican mountains, barely seeing the sea except for glimpses from a bird’s eye perspective. This time, as I hugged the coastline, dipping in and out of sea caves, I felt as though I was winding through the arteries of Corsica. This route starts from Piantarella, just east of Bonifacio on the southern tip of the island. It’s a sheltered lagoon, a deceptive idyll before you head out into open water, fringed by the northernmost islets of the seabird-heavy Lavezzi Islands. As you paddle west along the coast, the cliffs get higher and the coast is so haphazardly splintered that it looks as though someone has taken a sledgehammer to it. At the end of the route, just before Bonifacio, is an extraordinary cave, the Grotte de Saint-Antoine, with an almost perfect circle carved into the roof and a tiny sliver of sand the colour of shortbread at the back of it. Allow for half a day at least: this route is the better part of nine miles there and back.
A Cheda, just outside Bonifacio, has a garden full of palms and wall creepers and double rooms from 150

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