For many people the first time they see a reference to the river Loup is on a road sign on the A8 autoroute when approaching Nice, near Villeneuve Loubet: junction 46 is marked Bouches du Loup and is where the river Loup enters the sea just north of Marina Baie des Anges and south of Cagnes sur Mer. Among the villages that take their name directly from the river there is of course the lovely Tourrettes sur Loup, but also Bar sur Loup, Pont du Loup and La Colle sur Loup.
The river has its source to the west in the Audibergue mountains which form part of the Pre-Alps of Grasse, at a height of over 1200m near the village of Andon. It then runs
The Gorges du Loup viewed from Gourdon
through 11 “commune” over a distance of nearly 48 kms before reaching the sea. There are several small tributaries that feed the Loup in its lower reaches, including The Mardaric, the Miagne, the Clarel and the Riou de Gourdon. However a large amount of water flows into the upper parts from the nearby plateau (Caussols, Calern, Cavillore…) through the porous karstic rock, which incidentally provides number of caves and avens that are a potholer’s delight..
The upper reaches of the river are essential torrent-like and this is most obvious in the famous Gorges du Loup where, from the Saut du Loup, south of Bramafan, down to Le Pont du Loup, the river runs in a cleft between high cliffs providing a real spectacle. One of the sites not to miss in the gorge is the cascade de Courmes which is a 90m high waterfall on the left bank. Bungee jumping used to be a favorite activity but the mayor has stopped this for reasons of security. Canyoning and climbing are however still practiced and can be organized through various agencies. The well known GR51 hiking trail passes above the gorge, running in part in tunnels as it follows the 22 kms of the Canal de Foulon which takes water from its source near Greolières to Grasse (originally a canal when built in 1889 it now runs in a large pipe).
After the Pont du Loup the river is less of a torrent as it runs through flatter land, and by the time it passes under the bridge in Villeneuve Loubet it is usually quite calm. Canoeing is practiced in this section with an important activity based near La Colle sur Loup where French champions train. The Conseil General (Local government at Departmental level) has developed a nature reserve covering over 50 hectares in two parts along the banks of the lower river in the communes of Cagnes sur Mer, Villeneuve Loubet (right bank) and La Colle sur Loup (left bank), and known as the Parc des Rives du Loup. In the reserve there are some lovely riverside walks as well as a discovery trail. Eventually you will be able to walk the entire length, with the future construction of a bridge spanning the river.
Finally an activity practiced along virtually the entire length of the Loup is fishing, with the presence, amongst others, of rainbow and brown trout, as well as eels in the lower parts, so revealing the quality of the waters of this river which is one of the prides and joy of the Côte d’Azur.
If the areas around the River Loup attract you, Coast and Country, your South of France Estate Agent, usually has houses and Apartments for sale in Tourrettes sur Loup, Le Bar sur Loup, La Colle sur Loup and Villeneuve Loubet