The Lou Messugo Blog - life in the south of France from a British/Australian TCK's perspective, bringing you French culture, travel on the Côte d'Azur and beyond, expat issues and a little bit of je ne sais quoi all mixed up with a hefty dose of photography.

DAY TRIP : Plateaux, Passes and Picnics

gourdonA beautiful drive taking in very varied scenery

Head out of Roquefort on the D2085, through Le Rouret to Chateauneuf-Grasse where you turn right onto the D3 to Gourdon (20 mins from Roquefort les Pins).  Look out for the panoramic view point on the right as you climb up the hill.  GOURDON is a stunning village, an absolute "must-see" clinging perilously to the cliffs over-looking the whole of the Côte d'Azur.  On a clear day you can even see as far as Corsica.

plato caussolFrom Gourdon turn left onto the D12 towards the PLATEAU DE CAUSSOLS.  After about 5 km take the left turn (sign saying parapente).  Continue along here till it levels out and you find yourself on a moon-like plain of limestone rocks. There are plenty of places for picnics and many hiking trails marked.

Continue on along the D12 till you come to a cross roads with the D5, turn right here and continue for about 16 km till you come to a cross roads "les quatre chemins" near Thorenc (without stopping this is about 1 hour from Lou Messugo.)

greolieresHere you have some choices:  there's an animal reserve with Bison and Przewalski horses at THORENC (you can usually see the animals from the fence without actually paying and going in!) or you can go straight over at the crossroads and take a detour up to the COL DE BLEINE (a pass at 1439m) from where there are wonderful views over the coast and alps.  It's about 5 km of wiggly road to the pass, then you have to come back down again the same way.

Having either been up to the Col de Bleine or to the animal reserve or neither, head towards GREOLIERES (which would have been a right turn at the crossroads).  Don't confuse the old village of Gréolières with Gréolières les Neiges which is a ski resort in winter with plenty of hiking in the summer.  The drive to the old village along the D2 takes you along a spectacular mountain road where scenes from the James Bond film Goldeneye (click here to see) and Ronin starring Robert Deniro were filmed (click here).  (1 hour 20 mins from Roquefort without stops).

caussols3 km after Gréolières you have the choice to return via the GORGES DU LOUP (making a total of about 2 hours' drive from start to finish without stops) or the COL DE VENCE (making about a 2 hour 45 min drive).

For the Gorges du Loup, turn right onto the D3 and follow the road, taking the left fork onto the D6 to Pont du Loup. The gorge of the Loup ("wolf") river is lovely, with a pretty waterfall where you can pull off and take photos. There is a fabulous tradtional sweet factory Confiserie Florian, with nearly everything made from local flowers, at Pont du Loup.  There are free tours and tastings. At Pont du Loup you turn right to Le Bar sur Loup and on to Chateauneuf-Grasse where you retrace your path back to Roquefort.

For the Col de Vence option take the left turn (direction Coursegoules) along the D2.  The col (pass in English) is at 963m and often has its own micro climate making it misty and cool.  It is a spooky place known for its UFO sightings!  It has a bleak beauty about it.  From the Col, head down the hill, through Vence (worth a proper visit but probably another day), turn right to Tourrettes sur Loup on the D2210.  Tourrettes is a gorgeous medieval hill village famous for its violet production.

From Tourrettes continue along the D2210 to Pont du Loup and indulge yourself with a stop at the sweet factory.  See above for details and return to Roquefort.

NB The route through the plateau de Caussols and on to Col de Vence doesn't have much in the way of places to eat so we suggest making the most of the spectacular and unique environment by taking a picnic.  We can provide you with cool bags, ice blocks and picnic equipment.

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  • Guest
    Juliana Monday, 19 June 2017

    Hello , I have to organize a car trip for our historic car club and wondered if there is a place on the col de vence for around 12 cars to stop for a pic nic and enjoy the view. Any help would be appreciated.
    Many thanks. Juliana.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Monday, 19 June 2017

    Hi Juliana, there are several places to pull off where hiking trails go from but there may well be other cars. I should think you'd be OK finding somewhere for 12 cars but not really sure. Depends on many factors like day of the week, time of the year etc. On a summer weekend I imagine it would be hard. Mid week easier and out of season even better. Sorry I can't be more specific.

  • Guest
    Rin Friday, 14 September 2012

    I have been to all of the places you have mentioned, most of them with you acting as an excellent guide. Reading your blog booht back many very happy memories' thanks.

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Guest Sunday, 24 June 2018

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