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markeurresat.pngL'Arche de Ponadieu

Saint-Vallier-de-Thiey
Equipement

parking du Calvaire
06460 Saint-Vallier-de-Thiey
France


Tarifs
Free access.
Ouverture
All year round.

Hike profile:
Type: On foot
Skill level: Easy
Town: Saint-Vallier-de-Thiey
Cumulative ascent/descent: +/-656 feet (+/-200m)
Walking time: 2½ hours
Recommended season: April to December
Recommended map: IGN Blue Series “Haute Siagne” map No. 3543 ET
From the town of Saint-Vallier-de-Thiey
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.

The Siagne River is the common thread of this classic loop with the ever-present roar of its tumultuous waters, despite the pumping station upstream.
Is this perhaps why the Romans who settled on the Castrum Caesarii called this waterway the “Sinaia,” for the noise it made when tumbling over the rocks, sending its white foam airborne?
The waters, sometimes a joyously chaotic spectacle, sometimes spreading out into peaceful, translucent pools, are forced to pass beneath the natural arch known as the Ponadieu; two etymologies are possible for this charming name, based on the region’s old dialect: “lou pont natiou,” a natural bridge created by limestone deposits (tufa) from a now-extinct spring, and “lou pont à Diou,” “bridge of God,” so christened as an offering to the divine hand that so artistically shaped this natural wonder.

Hike description
From the Calvaire parking lot (715 m/2,345 ft., trail marker #81), descend a rather steep and rocky path that soon intersects with the GR510 (trail marker #80) connecting Saint-Cézaire-sur-Siagne with Escragnolles. Then traverse the Vallon de la Combe on a retaining wall that juts out above the river among holm oaks (yeuses) that offer welcome shade, then descend to the left, ignoring several passages to the right that lead to overhangs and terraced land above the Siagne; after a short descent, you reach the natural bridge of the Arche de Ponadieu, which spans the river (1,709 ft./521 m).

IMPORTANT! The banks of the Siagne are crisscrossed by many paths used by fishermen and hunters. These are not way-marked trails and can lead into dangerous terrain (risk of slipping or falling). Return by the same route as far as trail marker #80, then take the GR 510 trail on the left (heading northeast) that more or less follows the Siagne Canal up to trail marker #82. Return to your starting point by taking the small road to the right (south), which ascends from the headwaters of the Siagne.

Source: randoxygene.departement06.fr (in French)

L'Arche de Ponadieu

43.700093, 6.790376

L'Arche de Ponadieu

43.700093, 6.790376

L'Arche de Ponadieu

43.700093, 6.790376

L'Arche de Ponadieu

43.700093, 6.790376