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The water sports centres of the Valenciennes area

Dip your toes in !

We have a few suggestions for fun and sporty trips out to experience with friends or as a family. A rejuvenating connection with nature is guaranteed.

Do you dream of spicing up your summer without giving up the coolness of the water? Enjoy the many water sports that the Valenciennes area has to offer. There’s no shortage of bodies of water, nor of opportunities to make water sports synonymous with fun.

 

Smooth sailing on the Étang du Vignoble (Vineyard Lake)

Sailing isn’t exclusive to seaside resorts! In Valenciennes, you can find almost all sailing-based sports - there’s something for all ages. So with the wind in your hair, take the helm of a sailing dinghy and glide adventurously across the surface of a lake at the Vignoble. Just imagine it: sunshine, 54 hectares of water, nature. Only the wind, as keenly anticipated as the Messiah, can tear us away from this lounging around.

Sailing isn’t exclusive to seaside resorts! In Valenciennes, you can find almost all sailing-based sports - there’s something for all ages. So with the wind in your hair, take the helm of a sailing dinghy and glide adventurously across the surface of a lake at the Vignoble. Just imagine it: sunshine, 54 hectares of water, nature. Only the wind, as keenly anticipated as the Messiah, can tear us away from this lounging around.

The Valenciennes water sports centre is just a short distance away from the town centre. Its pleasant and friendly clubhouse is located on a peninsula. The lake was once called Le Vert Gazon, after a hamlet located by river Scheldt. In the first half of the 20th century, the lake was used as a ballast pit (an open-air quarry from which ballast was extracted).

This enlarged and added depth to what was originally just a marsh by the name of Bourlain. The Cercle de Voile de Valenciennes (Valenciennes Sailing Circle) was established there by a few enthusiasts. Over time, it has gained regional fame with renowned sporting results. indulge in the 'pleasures of board sports’, we recommend the ‘Lève-toi et rame’ activity, which offers an introduction to stand up paddle boarding. It does what it says on the tin - you stand on a board and move around on the water by using a paddle. You know, it looks like there are people walking on water... but no! They’re doing SUP, a sport that’s very 'in’ at the moment! We’ve been won over!

This activity is very accessible. The only prerequisites are that you be able to swim and not be afraid of falling into the water.

The club offers equipment rentals for a trip lasting 1-3 hours (with a few falls - it’s no fun otherwise!) We were able to enjoy the landscapes, all while chatting amongst ourselves, and without even realising it, we did a bit of sport! The aches and pains we felt the day after are the proof: arms, shoulders, thighs, calves and abs !

Sailing Club of Valenciennes
Étang du vignoble, 70 rue Malplaquet – 59300 Valenciennes
Tél. 03 27 29 65 96

Kayaking and water play at Chabaud-Latour

Head north of Valenciennes, into the heart of a major birdwatching site in the Scarpe Escaut Regional Natural Park. You’re looking for a place that’s peaceful, relaxing and green. But with water and outdoor activities for children, teenagers and adults. There’s no need to look any further - you’ll find it all in Condé-sur-l’Escaut. On the programme: a trip out on the Chabaud-Latour subsidence lake, the result of intensive coal-mining activity. It’s a space that’s been returned to nature, emblematic of the Cultural Landscapes of the Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2012. It’s the ideal spot for starting kayaking with friends.

After a quick presentation of the site, the structures and the equipment, we climb aboard three single-seater kayaks. In just a few paddle strokes, we're out of the water sports centre. After a few minutes of sailing, a break is called for, right in the middle of this expanse of water where the sunbeams glitter. All around, a restful silence reigns. I go for the relaxing option, (by taking a break every six strokes) and willingly give in to the desire to bask in the sun, lulled by the lapping of the water that ripples underneath the kayaks...

We continue our little trip around the lake. We’re always alone, or near enough. A procession of ducks files past in the middle of the water, and an egret takes flight, lifting off from the opposite shore. Nearby, what looks like a heron 
sits proudly (as if on a throne), solitary and still, on some washed-up tree branches. We try to get close so as to witness the moment where it spreads its wings. But our inexpert paddling and clumsy approach give us away. It flies away - better luck next time. Soon, it'll be time to turn back to get back to the water sports centre. It’s an introduction in a perfect setting for beginners, summer holidaymakers and families.

Alongside the traditional sailing activities, the outdoor activities centre has recently added a water play area which has been hugely successful and might help people avoid the temptation to go and take a dip in the lake (which is not permitted). Since last year, this area’s opening hours have been extended due to this success (it now closes at 7 pm instead of 5:30 pm). Flowers that splash you and a frog that gets you soaking wet have been added. At the water’s edge, some new structures have also been set up for the smallest of our little ones.
Leisure center of Chabaud Latour
Rue Henri Martrice - 59163 Condé-sur-l'Escaut
Tél . 03 27 41 35 50
www.conde59.fr