Sometimes you just need to get outside, breath in nature and take “un grand bol d’air“. But you don’t want to go far. This happened most recently to us between Christmas and New Year after days of over-indulgence, snuggled up in front of the fire watching films and playing board games. And yet despite this lack of activity we didn’t actually want to do much. So here is the perfect little walk for those times and one that we do regularly in all seasons and all weathers. It’s just 10 minutes away in the car and it only takes about 15 minutes to get to the end before either picnicking, swimming, watching the climbers, skipping stones or just walking back. So it can be done, all up, from Lou Messugo in an hour (if you really don’t want to be out for long!)
This walk takes you along the Loup river, from the kayak club in La Colle sur Loup to the natural rock climbing site “La Bagarée“. The path is within the Parc Naturel des Rives du Loup (riverside natural park) ensuring it is always well maintained even after floods. It’s flat and wide – great for kids’ bikes or pushchairs – and shaded most of the way by elegant Plane trees which lose their leaves in the winter creating more sun when it’s needed. The river is bordered on either side by high limestone cliffs which glow golden in the sun. At the end of the walk there’s a rocky beach in the middle of a double bend perfect for a base from which to swim or paddle or build dams. However, if the river is in flood, which happens several times most winters, this beach doesn’t exist and occasionally the end part of the path is covered too.
In spring we picnic and catch tadpoles and in autumn we kick through the leaves to skip a few stones. In winter we’re usually alone, only passing the odd dog-walker as we breathe in the rich humus smells and enjoy the silence. Almost every time we have walked here we have seen a snake, often swimming in the water, and there are usually some wild ducks around but that’s about it for wildlife – too many dogs I guess as it’s a popular dog-walking trail.
On hot summer days we love to swim here as it’s cooler and less crowded than the Côte d’Azur beaches, though it’s by no means a secret. We bring “noodles” and float gently downstream or muck around in the rapids.
By the beach is a popular rock climbing area so there are usually quite a few climbers on the rock faces around who are fun to watch. I’m not a climber but I’m assured this is a good little spot with a variety of routes (actually 123 of them) from beginners to reasonably advanced. The area was redone a few years ago so the anchors and bolts are in good nick (if you can say such a thing? I’m really not into climbing!) My brother, once keen in pre-children days, rediscovered his passion for this crazy endurance sport here and now every time he visits he brings his gear and takes the kids up some of the easier routes.
So this little walk has enough interest to keep even the teenagers happy – the main thing for them being that it is so short! It’s beautiful, peaceful and easily accessed; what’s not to like?
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