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5 must-see dive sites in mainland France

Experiment with weightlessness. Evolve in three dimensions. Feel free from the constraints of the surface. Explore a captivating aquatic and mineral environment. Meet rare animal and plant species… These are some of the reasons that make diving a unique experience. Discover in these lines 5 French dive sites that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

Dn all time, creatures living below the surface have fascinated people. The invention of the autonomous diving suit in the 45th century revolutionized marine exploration. But it is the conception of the first autonomous regulator by Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Émile Gagnan, which allowed the democratization of diving. With his famous aqua-lung (CGXNUMX) and his documentary series, Cousteau introduced the world of silence to the general public. He then sparked interest in the underwater world. Today, the pleasure of diving is available to all. In apnea, underwater hike or in a scuba, many dive sites exist at sea as in freshwater.

From Finistère to Morbihan, from Normandy to Savoy, from Vercors to Lot-Garonne and all along the Mediterranean from Banyuls to Port-Cros via Marseille… Ldive sites at sea, under ice or in underground galleries reveal magnificent treasures to athletes. Here are 5 extraordinary scuba diving sites to discover in mainland France.

The Lavezzi Islands

Off Bonifacio, the islets and granite reefs of Lavezzi Islands Nature Reserve up a preserved natural aquarium. There is indeed a much smaller tourist influx than the Scandola reserve. This little-known and difficult to access paradise offers divers a turquoise sea, clear waters and rocky bottoms with rich biodiversity. If the reserve contains spots up to 40 meters deep, beginner divers will also be satisfied. All you need is a mask and a snorkel to marvel at the flora and fauna present a few meters deep. Subject to currents and winds, it is however preferable to favor morning underwater outings.

Diving in the Lavezzi Islands

The Lot galleries

In the Lot, rocamadour, walnuts and farm lamb are not the only wonders to discover. This small department in southwestern France is a paradise for cave divers. It would even be the most beautiful European cave diving spot. Reserved for CMAS level 2 divers supervised by qualified caving instructors, these dives in the crystal clear waters of submerged limestone caves, springs, siphons and resurgences offer an unusual and magical dive.

In the galleries of the Lot

The wrecks of Normandy

For lovers of history and wreck diving, Normandy is a must. Between 12 and 25 meters deep, dozens of wrecks resulting from shipwrecks or the Normandy landings in 1944 are placed on the ground a stone's throw from the landing beaches. Among them, the USS Meredith III, Fort Norfolk or the Courbet delight divers of all levels. A rich fauna emblematic of the Channel populates the ships. The wrecks of Normandy are an immersion in history in the company of congers, bass, lobsters and spider crabs. What more could you ask for?

Wreck diving in Normandy

The dive sites of the Riou Archipelago

At the foot of the Plane, Jarre, Jarron, Maïre, Riou and Tiboulen de Maïre ​​islands located off the coast of Marseille, the varied underwater reliefs, the vertiginous drop-offs, the dense fauna, the clear waters and the multiple wrecks allow beginners and experienced divers to live an experience that meets their expectations. Groupers, red mullet, scorpion fish, gorgonians and red corals live at shallow depths on rocky bottoms, while pelagic fish such as wolves, sea bream or barracudas are visible near the drop-offs. When returning from the dive site, it is not uncommon to come across a few cetaceans, which abound in the Mediterranean, by boat.

The Frioul Islands

Lake Tignes

Sous the lake of Tignes in winter, it is not the discovery of flora and fauna that prevails, but the extraordinary experience of ice diving. Impossible to discover the marvelous natural spectacle and its play of light without adapted equipment. But once equipped and supervised by one of the professionals installed at the foot of the lake, it is a breathtaking experience which is offered to the most intrepid divers.

Lake Tignes in Winter is one of the unforgettable dive sites