The area around Lou Messugo is ideal for adventure activities, it’s an adrenalin junkie’s dream. We are close to mountains, gorges, fast-flowing rivers and rock faces all screaming out to be climbed, jumped off, slithered down, scrambled over and enjoyed to the full – if you like that kind of thing!
Just 10 minutes away, at the end of one of our favourite walks, there’s a small but popular and reasonably challenging natural rock face set up for climbing called la Bagarée. Beautifully located right by the Loup river, the area was redone a few years ago so the anchors and bolts are in good condition. It has 123 routes from beginners to advanced. Climbing friends assure me it’s a fun place to climb and my brother makes a beeline for there each time he visits. I’m not a climber but he is and he takes my boys and his twins regularly.
There are plenty more mountaineering and climbing sites in the Alpes-Maritimes, all within an hour, at the most, from us. One of the most well-known is at the pretty perched village of St Jeannet. More information can be found here.
Another crazy sport, in my opinion, to be found in the rivers near by is canyoning (canyoneering in US English). Here’s the definition, maybe you’ll see why I think it’s crazy! “The sport of jumping into a fast-flowing mountain stream and allowing oneself to be carried downstream at high speed”. This is another thing I haven’t actually done myself (I use the fact that I wear glasses and am blind as a bat without them as an excuse to my kids, but really I’m just a scaredy cat!) I haven’t tried, but JF and son N°1 have and both loved it. They went in a group of friends with children aged 10-15 and took double the time expected owing to the fear factor amongst some of the group but the instructor was supportive and didn’t charge extra. You are provided with wetsuits, helmets, ropes etc and accompanied by a guide. Having said I think it’s crazy, I do wish I had the guts to do it as I secretly think it looks amazing. More information can be found here.
The third adventure sport friends have tried locally is Via Ferrata and guess what? I haven’t! If you haven’t come across this before it’s rock climbing permanently rigged with rungs and cables making it safer and more accessible for non climbers. Typically you’ll find things like rope and cable bridges across ravines, and ladders bolted to the cliff face. It’s spectacular just to look at the circuits, my favourite one being at la Colmiane where a rope bridge crosses between two crags. (Pictured) I can’t imagine actually doing it though! There are 8 climbs in the Alpes-Maritimes located at Puget-Théniers, Auron, la Colmiane, Lantosque, Tende, la Brigue, Peille and la Moulière, all of which are possible to get to and do in a day trip from Lou Messugo. A free booklet is produced by the Conseil Général available online here too (in French). It’s tough, takes a good deal of stamina and is certainly not for anyone afraid of heights but apparently it’s totally awesome if you like that kind of thing!
Do you enjoy adventurous sports like these? Would you like to try any of them? Leave me a comment, I do love getting them!
You may also be interested in reading about our experiences rafting – an extreme family sport!