The River Loup (pronounced LOO) is in the Alpes Maritimes, France. It is 49 km (30 miles) in length. Its source is a grassy hollow in the Vallon de l'Audibergue. It is fed by streams running down the north face of the Montagne de l'Audibergue. It flows through some of the most beautiful scenery in Provence and passes through the Gorges du Loup, then flows into the Mediterranean Sea at Bouches-du-Loup.
The word loup is often conceived as meaning wolf, but in the south of France it also means a bass. This is a more likely derivation. Nevertheless, this fish was named after the wolf because of its voracity.
From its source in the Vallon de l'Audibergue the Loup flows through four kinds of scenery.
- 1, The Upper Loup Valley runs eastwards from its source near Andon with mountains on either side. L'Audibergue (1642 m), Cheiron (1778 m).
- 2, At Cipières the river turns south and flows through a narrow canyon called the Gorges du Loup.
- 3, After the village of Pont-du-Loup it turns east, and flows through the broader wooded Gorges Inferieur du Loup towards La Colle-sur-Loup.
- 4, It finally turns south-east and flows through the plains of Villeneuve-Loubet where it enters the Mediterranean.
Towns and villages beside the Loup are Andon, Thorenc, Gréolières, Cipières, Courmes, Gourdon, Pont-du-Loup, Tourrettes-sur-Loup, Le Bar-sur-Loup, La Colle-sur-Loup, Villeneuve-Loubet and Cagnes-sur-Mer. Also worth visiting nearby, is the very popular St Paul de Vence.
Nearest airport: Nice Côte d'Azur.
To visit the Gorges du Loup
From the A8 autoroute
- From Aix-en-Provence (eastbound)
- Either exit 42(Cannes-centre). Turn left towards Grasse, then take the D3 to Valbonne and on to Châteauneuf-de-Grasse, then head for Le Bar-sur-Loup and Pont-du-Loup. To enter the Gorges turn left on the D6 just after the village of Pont-du-Loup.
- Or exit 47 (Villeneuve-Loubet). Follow the signs to Saint-Paul then La Colle-sur-Loup. At La Colle follow Châteauneuf-de-Grasse/Le Bar-sur-Loup for about 2km then turn right on the D6 towards Gréolières/Pont-du-Loup. At this point, you will enter the Lower Gorges du Loup. To enter the Gorges du Loup itself, continue on the D6 by going straight across the crossroads near the village of Pont du Loup.
- From Italy, Monaco or Nice (westbound) exit 48 (Cagnes-sur-Mer). Go straight on and head for La Colle-sur-Loup. At La Colle follow Châteauneuf-de-Grasse/Le Bar-sur-Loup for about 2km then turn right on the D6 towards Gréolières/Pont-du-Loup. At this point, you will enter the Lower Gorges du Loup. To enter the Gorges du Loup, continue on the D6 by going straight across the crossroads near the village of Pont du Loup.
- An alternative route from 'exits 47 or 48 is to head for Vence, then take the D2210 to Tourrettes-sur-Loup. After visiting Tourrettes you can continue towards Pont-du-Loup. To enter the Gorges du Loup, turn right just before the village of Pont-du-Loup.
To visit Villeneuve-Loubet, Cagnes-sur-Me and the beaches
From the A8
- From Aix-en-Provence (eastbound) exit 46 (Bouches-du-Loup/Villeneuve-Loubet Plage) or exit 47 (Villeneuve-Loubet/Cagnes-sur-Mer).
- From Italy, Monaco or Nice (westbound) exit 48 ((Cagnes-sur-Mer) or exit 47 (Villeneuve-Loubet).
To visit the Upper Loup Valley and the ski stations
- Either exit 42 (Cannes-centre). Follow the N85 to Grasse. The Upper Loup Valley can be accessed either by continuing along the Route Napoleon N85 through St Valier de Thiey.
- Or via the Gorges du Loup as described above.
- Or from Vence (exit 47 or 48) via the Col de Vence and Coursegoules.
- Gorges du Loup with its waterfalls Cascade de Courmes, Saut du Loup and Cascades des Demoiselles.
- St Paul de Vence
- Haute de Cagnes
- Skiing: There are two ski stations in the Upper Loup Valley, one at Gréolières-les-Neiges and a small one at L'Audibergue.
- Beaches: at Villeneuve-Loubet Plage and Cagnes-sur-Mer.
- Fête des Violettes at Tourrettes-sur-Loup: Provençale market and a procession with carnival floats.