When people talk of visiting the south of France, we think of golden sandy beaches, St Tropez, Cannes and living like a rich celebrity. However, If you’re looking for an active day out in the south of France, then, you really need to visit Roquebrune sur Argens.
Thankfully, while working in the South of France, I got to experience this fantastic place.
Why Visit Roquebrune sur Argens
Dominated by a giant majestic rock, the French village of Roquebrune sur argens is a medieval town which holds years worth of history.
Their Motto is:
“Sans Le Soleil, Nous Ne Sommes Rien”
Translating to “without the sun, we are nothing.” Which is a motto I can definitely relate to!
Plus, being in the beautiful Cote D’azur it’s not too often they’re without those jolly yellow rays.
Nicknamed “Cité Millénaire”, Roquebrune sur Argens has been slightly (yet) tastefully modernised. But don’t worry, it still retains loads of it’s original, whimsical French charm and character through:
- traditional narrow streets
- squares with beautiful fountains
- Quaint cafe’s, patisseries and boulangeries
- typical french houses with beautifully coloured, tatty shutters
- Friday morning markets
- & There’s even a chocolate musuem
If you’re in the Cote d’Azur, then a walk around Roquebrune sur Argens is a must.
The Rock of Roquebrune
The Rocher De Roquebrune is a magnificent giant rocky mound.
Technically not a mountain, when you’re hiking up it on a warm sunny day, it will definitely feel and look like it.
In addition, If you look hard enough, from the right angle you’ll see it’s shaped like a naked reclining women.
You can call it a climb or call it a hike, it’s really not an easy trek. I’d suggest Clearing at least 4 hours of your day. If you’re like myself and get lost easily, then you should definitely clear slightly more.
Reaching the summit is no easy task. The first time, I stupidly thought it would be led by pathways, and fairly easy. I was mistaken. Wearing flip flops, I made it around 3 quarters of the way up until the route started to get a little too tricky.
If you’re not into danger, you may want to avoid hiking Rocher de Roquebrune. After scaling some pretty scary rock ledges with no safety equipment, you learn that ropes attached to the cliff side are your only option to the top. And although they seem pretty safe, it’s still extremely scary.
During my first attempt, I stopped before having to scale any cliff sides, but that didn’t mean I had to miss out on the spectacular views across the town. Not only are the views across a roquebrune sur argens amazing, but the sandstone rocks themselves, beautiful fiery red colours, with caves, hide holes and oddly rocky shapes, are magnificent. In fact, there’s one set of rocks which look like a giant gorilla, as well as some mushroom looking ones.
Believe it or not, there’s actually a hermit living in one of the caves. His name is brother Anthony. Although I didn’t see him, and I think it would be rude to go looking, seeing as it’s his home, I did find a little blog about him
Reaching the Summit of Rocher de Roquebrune
On my second attempt, finally reaching the three crosses, I made it to the top. “Le Rocher Des Trois Croix” The three crosses mark the summit of the rock. Erected in 1991, they are a homage to three painters Giotto, Grünewald and El Greco.
The views are beautiful. Sitting for a while, at the top, you can admire the distant views of Frejus, Esterel, The Argens Valleys and in the very far distance the Alps. It’s the perfect place to take a picnic and relax a bit before making your way back down.
The rock sits between two towns, Roquebrune sur argens and Le Muy. Due to the size of the Rocher du Roquebrune, there’s substantial distance between the two towns. You can easily get lost on the way back down and end up in a completely different town (as we did).
Surprisingly, walking down the rocher, the Le Muy way, was actually a lot safer and easier. There was a lot less climbing up and over rock ledges and it has more of a structured path. However, the fatal direction error added almost an hour extra getting to the bottom of the rock. In addition to that, we spent another 2 hours walking back round to the Roquebrune Sur Argens side. So if you have a weak bladder, I suggest you swat up on your directional skills, and don’t make the same mistake.
The trip will always be a memorable one. Not only because of the directional errors, but as it was mine and my now husbands first date. Trying to make a good impression, while slogging a sweaty, chubby body over rock ledges, and shouting at him getting lost, somehow worked. Surprisingly, we’re still together.
Need to cool down?
After all that hiking, you may need to cool down. At the bottom of the rock, Base Du Rocher offers activities like kayaking and other water sports. It’s a full days work. Starting with a walk around Roquebrune sur argens and finishing with a quick post hike dip, It’s 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 home…