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. 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.” A very apt motto for a town in the south of France as it’s not often they are without sun.
Nicknamed “Cité Millénaire”,Roquebrune sur Argens has been slightly, yet, tastefully modernised, though it still retains loads of it’s original character through:
- traditional narrow streets
- squares with beautiful fountains
- typical french houses with beautifully coloured, tatty shutters
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. Altough technically not a mountain, it definitely feels, and looks, like one. In addition, If you look hard enough, 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. I’d suggest Clearing at least 4 hours of your day. If you’re like myself and get lost easily, then I’d 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 scenery of the sandstone rocks themselves, beautiful fiery red colours, with caves, hide holes and oddly rocky shapes. In fact, there’s one set of rocks which look like a giant gorilla, as well as many 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
My Second Hike 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, I had time to admire the views. In the distance Frejus, Esterel, The Argens Valleys and in the far distance the Alps. After a picnic, 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 substantial distance between the two towns. Unfortunately, my sense of direction sucks and we somehow managed to walk down the other side of the Rocher de Roqubrune and ended up in Le Muy instead.
Surprisingly, walking down the rock, 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. I really needed a wee by this point.
The trip will always be a memorable one. Not only because of the directional errors, but as it was mine and my boyfriends 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…