Some tips for river swimming:
Rivers provide an escape from high-season crowds on the beaches and a chance to enjoy cool water and shady surroundings.
But remember that the rules of safety, responsibility, and good citizenship remain the same.
It is essential to wear good footwear when walking to the sites. You must also carefully assess the depth of the water before jumping in to avoid accidents, and watch out for any danger signs in your surroundings (such as rising water levels following a storm).
Rivers are preserved natural areas – please treat them with respect!
Pont des Gabres (Pont des Tuves)
The Pont des Tuves bridge is also known as the Pont des Gabres, depending on which bank you are standing on. For this bridge, built in 1802, overlooks the Siagne River and connects two departments: on one side of the Siagne, you are within the boundary of the village of Montauroux in the Var department; on the other, you are in Saint-Cézaire in the Alpes-Maritimes.
The word “Tuves” comes from the word tuf, meaning tufa (light, porous, often crumbly rock formed by limestone deposits) or tuff (similar rock formed by volcanic activity).
To reach this bridge, you must leave the village of Saint-Cézaire and descend to the Siagne River, following it through a forest of centuries-old oaks. After about 45 minutes on foot, you will be surrounded by beauty: the Tuves bridge, the waterfall, a small and charming beach, many ruins that serve as testament to substantial farming activity in eras past.
It is a place that will delight nature lovers and those seeking a refreshing getaway and a brisk swim.
More info on the Pont des Tuves hike
Parc de Roquesteron ("Roquestéron beach")
The Estéron River, with its clear waters of a remarkable green, is a playground of many pleasures. It flows in its bed, sometimes sedately, sometimes vigorously, and offers very enjoyable moments swimming in its wide, calm, pool-like launes, experiencing an invigorating massage in its “jacuzzis,” dives from atop the rocks along the banks, and even canoeing and kayaking.
Fishermen can try their luck in these magnificent waters to hook trout, chub, or bleak.
In a journey stretching more than 40 miles (65 km), the Estéron winds its way through a valley with a rich cultural past of the kind so often found in our region, leading you to picturesque villages such as Saint Auban, Briançonnet, Gars, and Les Mujouls.
“Roquestéron Beach” is the perfect place to spread out your checkered tablecloth and have a picnic with family or friends.
The river is very easy to reach from the parking lot, which is quite convenient when carrying coolers!
The most courageous souls can enjoy a dip, while landlubbers can take advantage of terrain that is perfect for a game of pétanque (boules).
More information on the Parc de l'Estéron
Arche de Ponadieu
The deep, ever-present roar of the tumultuous waters of the Siagne can be heard from afar. The waters, sometimes a joyously chaotic spectacle, sometimes spreading out into peaceful, translucent pools (launes), are forced to pass beneath the natural arch known as the Ponadieu.
The Pont de Ponadieu was created by limestone deposits (tufa) from a now-extinct spring. It is a light rock (used in buildings) that bears impressions of vegetation.
Reaching reach this natural arch requires a walk lasting 45 minutes to an hour (feasible for all). The path goes downhill and leads to a pool beneath this magnificent natural arch that spans the river (1,709 feet/521 meters). The path leading to the Pont de Ponadieu partly runs along the Vallon de la Combe, a particularly agreeable site by virtue of the shade of large holm oaks.
This hike forms a loop that takes approximately 2.5 hours to complete.
Be prepared: the walk back up will be the hardest for your calves!
More information on the Arche de Ponadieu hike
Swimming in the Gorges du Loup (at Pont-du-Loup)
Starting from the village of Pont-du-Loup, go up the path behind the Confiserie Florian.
The further up you go, the prettier the surroundings and the more impressive the waterfalls become. It takes about 10 minutes to reach the first quiet waterside lounging areas, and 45 minutes to reach the beautiful pools and waterfalls that are upstream from the second footbridge.
IMPORTANT: The path is steep and not recommended for young children.
The water is cold and the river is rough, so it is essential to exercise care. Also, parking is a challenge in the Gorges du Loup and at Pont-du-Loup. Please be sure to respect officially designated parking locations.