Medieval perched villages along Loup river

  • © Getty Images

    © Getty Images

Medieval perched villages along Loup river cote azur fr

The Côte d'Azur is made for explorers – so when you’ve had enough of the coastal buzz, head inland up the Loup river to see some of the area’s most breathtaking hilltop villages. Flowing from its source in the mountains at Andon, the Loup
winds its way for 49km to the Mediterranean at Villeneuve-Loubet. Stop off at Gourdon perched on its rocky outcrop, classified as a monument historique since 1971 and originally used as a place of refuge. Its magnificent gardens were designed by André Le Nôtre and certain scenes from Les Misérables were filmed here.

 

Further on are Le Bar-sur-Loup and Tourrettes-sur-Loup, the former of which contains some fascinating ancient carvings and architecture. Tourrettes is home to the violet, with a dedicated flower festival taking place every March, and the Grand Rue (main village street) is home to around 30 artists’ workshops and galleries. La Colle-sur-Loup, next-door to St-Paul-de-Vence, is ensconced in a beautiful natural environment of oak trees, olives and pines and was once home to an important medieval community. Its 12th-century priory has been converted into a restaurant (L’Abbaye), and Realist artist Yves Klein is buried here.

 

The mountain roads that wind from one village to the next are a dream for drivers, and despite the variety of the landscapes dependent on the season – lavender fields, olive groves, maquis (fragrant scrubland) and even snow-capped mountains – you never lose sight of the sparkling Mediterranean in the distance.

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