When people talk of visiting the south of France, we think of golden sandy beaches, St Tropez, Cannes and living like a rich celebrity, but If you’re looking for an active day out in the south of France you really need to visit Roquebrune sur Argens.
Why Visit Roquebrune
Dominated by a giant majestic rock, the French village of Roquebrune sur argens is a medieval town and holds years worth of history, their Motto is:
“Sans Le Soleil, Nous Ne Sommes Rien”
Translating to “without the sun, we are nothing.” It’s a very apt motto for a town in the south of France–It’s not often they are without sun.
Nicknamed “Cité Millénaire”, the town has itself been slightly, but tastefully modernised, though it still retains loads of it’s original character:
- traditional narrow streets
- squares with beautiful fountains
- typical french houses with beautifully coloured, tatty shutters
A walk around the town is a must if visiting Frejus or the surrounding areas.
The Rock of Roquebrune
The Rocher De Roquebrune is a magnificent giant rocky mountain (technically it’s not a mountain as it’s less than 610 meters high–but I still call it one) and if you look hard, from the right angle you’ll see it’s shaped like a naked reclining women.
Call it a climb or call it a hike, it’s really not an easy trek. Clear at least 4 hours of your day (or more, if like me you get lost easy).
It took me two attempts to reach the summit, the first time, I stupidly thought it would be pathed and easy, I was mistaken and wearing flip flops wasn’t my brightest move. I got about 3 quarters of the way up and the route started to get a bit too tricky.
If you’re not into danger, you may want to avoid this hike, as you will be scaling some pretty scary rocky ledges with no equipment, except for the ropes attached to the cliff sides–They seem pretty safe, but it’s still pretty scary!
During my first attempt I stopped before I had to scale any cliffsides, but that didn’t mean I had to miss out on the spectacular views across the town, and It’s not just the spectacular views across roquebrune sur argens that make the hike so amazing, but the scenery of the sandstone rock itself–a beautiful fiery red colour with caves, hide holes and odd rocky shapes–There’s even one set of rocks which look like a giant gorilla and many mushroom looking ones!
Believe it or not, there’s actually a hermit living in one of the caves. His name is brother Anthony, I didn’t see him—I guess it would be a bit rude to go looking for him though, considering it’s kinda his home. There’s even a blog about him
Hike Take Two
On my second attempt I reached the three crosses, and I made it to the top. The three crosses are at the summit of the rock and were erected in 1991, they are a homage to three painters Giotto, Grünewald and El Greco.
After sitting at the top of the rock, admiring the magnificent scenery of Frejus, Esterel, The Argens Valleys and in the far distance the Alps, we decided to make our way back down. The rock sits between two towns, Roquebrune sur argens and Le Muy, due to the size of the rock there’s quite a distance between the two and unfortunately, my sense of direction sucks–we ended up in Le Muy.
The way down, the Le Muy way, actually seemed a lot safer and easier. There was a lot less climbing up and over rock ledges and it did have more of a structured path, however the fatal error added almost an hour extra getting to the bottom of the rock and another 2 hours to walk back round to the Roquebrune Sur Argens side (I really needed a wee).
Did I tell you, it was actually mine and Mike’s first date? I don’t think I made a great impression, in typical Breanne style I blamed going the wrong way on him and told him that there would be no second date (that was well over 2 years ago, and many dates later here we are).
If you’re planning on taking the hike and need to cool down after http://basedurocher.com/ offers activities like kayaking and other water sports, making it the perfect active day out in the South of France. That is of course, if you make it down the rock the right way and don’t end up in another town spending hours trying to find your way back to the right side!