We stayed at the wonderful chambre d’hôte, ‘La Cascade’, with genial hosts Eric and Bruno. Good food and good company for the six Groundhogs and an ideal centre to explore this interesting area. Another group of 4 French walkers were planning one of their group visits to the area for later on in the year. Based at La Cascade we planned to walk the GR51 to Grasse, and use public transport and circular walks to get back to Courmes.
We arrived at Courmes in one day from Oxford where we left at about 5.00 in the morning. Eurostar from London to Paris, then TGV to Nice and then the bus to Grassse. From Grasse we got another bus (the 511) to le Bar-sur-Loup. Here we had arranged for an 8 seater taxi to take us to Courmes where we arrived at 19.00hrs.
Courmes to Pont de Bramafan, 470m 3km
Pont de Bramafan to Chemin du Paradis, 450m 7km
This was a circular walk and we left the GR51 and then walked down to Pont du Loup 2km, and then up the road back to Courmes passing the Saut du Loup, 7km.
Total of 10km on the GR51 and 17km overall.
Courmes is a small village with a hotel and ‘La Cascade’, which is located down a track some 120m lower than the village. After the pont du Bramafan the GR51 contours around the steep sided gorge following the Foulon pipeline. Sometimes it passes through the side walls of the gorge in a tunnel. You have to duck down and it is useful if you have a head torch.
The Gourdon path up from the GR51 was officially closed on the day we were there following rock falls on the path descending steeply from Gourdon. A plethora of notices signed by all and sundry were tied to the fences. This had apparently happened in January 2011. There were however people descending so we decided to do the same the next day.
We did this section east to west on 6th April 2011.