What is there to do in the Gorges du Loup?

Located in the Alpes-Maritimes, the Gorges du Loup is high up in the hinterland of Grasse and the Côte d’Azur. Hiking, canyoning, potholing, there’s something here for everyone. You can also stroll around and discover breath-taking and refreshing natural sites.

What are the Gorges du Loup?

The Loup is a river originating in Andon, in the Audibergue mountain range, which discharges into the Mediterranean, and on its way, it crosses the town of Gourdon in which the gorges are located.

In a lush green environment, the cool river water will jet you to discover a relaxing natural site and enjoy white water activities.

Nestled at the bottom of a steep-sided valley, between the Carvillore and Saint-Barnabé plateaux, the Loup crosses several villages: Bar-sur-Loup, Pont-du-Loup, Tourrettes-sur-Loup, Gourdon, La Colle-sur-Loup and the famous Saint-Paul-de-Vence. The Gorges du Loup can be discovered on foot or by bike, and also through aquatic hiking.

The Loup is punctuated by several waterfalls:

  • The “stunning” Courme waterfall, over 40 m high, which is a listed historic site;
  • the Saut du Loup site, overlooked by a belvedere offering an impressive panoramic view;
  • the Grande Marmite, a natural basin formed by the erosion of the river;
  • the Demoiselles waterfalls.

The Saut du Loup site offers a belvedere (entry fee charged) allowing the falls to be admired while offering an unimpeded view over the region.

Hiking in the Gorges du Loup

The Gorges du Loup are an ideal place for beautiful hikes, from the easiest to the most technical. To be enjoyed as a family or tackled by experience hikers, you will have the chance to admire exceptional views while enjoying the coolness of the river.

Hiking in the Gorges du Loup

The Chemin du Paradis, from Bar-sur-Loup to Gourdon

This route is a little over 8 km (with a 552 m change in elevation) and takes its name from a legend linked to the village of Bar-sur-Loup.

As this had no cemetery, inhabitants had to bury their dead in the neighbouring town of Gourdon, perched 800 m up.

To get there, they had to transport the coffins on the backs of mules along a steep path with a 500 m change in elevation, which led the villagers to say that they brought the dead “closer to paradise”.

The trail follows this legendary route in the midst of almost vertical and impressive cliffs.

You need to be well-equipped (good hiking shoes, hat, and torch for the tunnel crossings).

On the path, you’ll discover the Loup canal, the Foulon aqueduct, up to Gourdon village, the “most beautiful village in France”, also known as the Balcony of the Côte d’Azur.

From this medieval fortress nestled on a rocky outcrop, you will have an exceptional view of the entire coast, between Théoule-sur-Mer and Nice.

Gourdon also offers several arts and crafts boutiques and monuments to visit: the church of Saint-Vincent, the feudal chateau and its gardens designed by Le Nôtre.

Hiking in the Gorges du Loup

Foulon Canal

This hike is easy, and covers 12 km.

One condition: don’t suffer from vertigo, because the path is often along peaks 200 m up.

The route crosses 22 tunnels with gaps offering magnificent views over the valley and follows the Foulon canal, opened in 1889 to supply water to the town of Grasse and its perfumeries.

You can see the famous and “stunning” Courmes waterfall, and also the Foulon aqueduct.

Hiking in the Gorges du Loup

Waterfall loop (by bike)

This cycle trail is a little under 30 km and allows you to discover the old railway and the Gorges du Loup route.

It offers beautiful views over the villages (Tourrettes-sur-Loup, Bar-sur-Loup, Gourdon, etc.) before going along the length of the Chateau of the Admiral of Grasse.

Its high point: it allows access to the most beautiful waterfalls: Courmes, Saut du Loup, Demoiselles, etc.

Nautical activities in the Gorges du Loup

The Gorges du Loup and their many natural waterfalls are, of course, perfect for nautical activities.

Nautical activities in the Gorges du Loup

Canyoning and aquatic hiking

In the heart of lush green vegetation and a variety of animal life, the waterfalls allow you to try canyoning or aquatic hiking. The river has created basins and diving boards in the rock, allowing jumps from 2 to 10 m, natural slides and abseiling under the Courmes waterfall. Also called “the stunning one”, this natural waterfall is over 40 m high and is worth the detour.

Aquatic hiking allows you to stroll along in complete safety with a State-certified guide: the jumps and slides are not mandatory, as the river is bordered by a path that goes around the obstacles.

Aquatic outings in the Gorges du Loup are open to those aged over 8 and can therefore be enjoyed as a family or with friends.

Nautical activities in the Gorges du Loup

Swimming in the Gorges du Loup

It is also possible to simply go swimming at the Gorges du Loup, in Pont-du-Loup village. A small, slightly steep path leads to the first pools (10 minutes away), then continues up to a second bridge (45 minutes’ walk). This area is not suitable for young children.

Families will prefer the sites in the Rives du Loup departmental park, located downstream. This 55-hectare natural space with a Natura 2000 classification is perfect for relaxing and swimming. It offers three different access points: Villeneuve-Loubet, Cagnes-sur-Mer or La Colle-sur-Loup. This estate is punctuated by discovery trails, pushchair-friendly hiking routes, picnic equipment and dry toilets.

Perfect for finding somewhere cool in summer, the Gorges du Loup is a tourist site emblematic of the upper country and the Côte d’Azur. Lovers of hiking and water-based activities will find their niche, as will those who love beautiful landscapes and natural spaces.