The Gorges of the Wolf
The Domaine of the Courmettes
Between Vence and Grasse, the Courmettes are located on the left bank of the Gorges du Loup and across the river is the Caussols plateau and the village of Gourdon.
The rocks which constitute this peak, are sedimentary and limestone , they come from the Upper Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous, and date from 80 to 220 million years ago.
These rocks formed with warm seas who from time to time were drying up completely which created a succession of sediment layers , where we can find some fossils .
For the little history of the formation of these reliefs, we have to go back about 40 million years. The African continent has entered collision with Europe, this collision is still ongoing. These movements of compression created folds and faults and gave birth to the mountain range of the Alps , including the Courmettes which are at the southern limit.
Then, 5 million years ago, the Mediterranean sea withdrawn and dried up , the rivers dug the limestone rocks to leave room for gorges , like here the magnificent Gorges of the Wolf.
The little gem of PACA
The wolf is a river that takes its source in the mountain of Audibergue north of Grasse. It travels 49 km with an average flow of 4.5 m3/s to end up flowing into the Mediterranean sea at the west of Cagnes sur mer in the Alpes-Maritimes.
The river crosses the first village of Bar-sur-Loup, originally called Le Bar. In 1961 it became Le Bar sur Loup by decree. Its inhabitants are called the Aubarnois or the Barois. It’s a pretty medieval village , with ancient ramparts, the castle of the Counts of Grasse and the medieval church of Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur.
Throughout its course the Wolf is surrounded by places and villages with many charm , a heritage of exception , a historical past.
The gorges are endowed with lush nature , impressivecliffs and turquoise colored water that contrasts with the vegetation. There is the Courmes waterfall over 40 m high, the Grande-Marmite and the Demoiselles waterfalls. Beautiful hiking in the gorges can be started for example in the village of Courmes
The main villages
The Wolf Bridge is a well known tourist resort, which at the time was served by railwaysof Provence. We can see his gigantic viaduct destroyed during the war. This village is also known for the Florian House which produces sweets made from flowers and fruits from Provence.
Tourrettes-sur-Loup , commonly referred to as the ” city of violet” because this little flower is the specialty of this medieval village. In March, a party is organized in its honor. This village has a gorgeous architectural heritage with its vaults, its art workshops and its castle which dates from the 15th century.
Saint Paul de Vence is an artists village which shelter numerous galleries, a bastioned enclosure, its wash house, its keep, its pontis and its pretty oil mill.
A few kilometers from the Saut-du-loup waterfalls, there is another fortified medieval city, called Gourdon . It is one of the Most Beautiful Villages of France . Finally the small village of the Colle-sur-Loup by the river surounded by a superb landscape.
A multitude of activities
The Gorges du Loup are a perfect playground for adventurers and lovers of sensation . For lovers of nature and long walks in observation you can find trails for families or more technical excursions.
The river, on the other hand, offers the possibility of a simple swim in fresh water. Or, you can take an excursion in equipment with qualified guides like water hike, canyoning. So, you will be able to discover the heart of the gorges. And to compete with nature by swimming and jumping.
There is also the Mescla cave which can be explored during the initiation to potholing. And finally, we can also find beautiful walls to indulge in escalation .