Take Me To The River #6 : Mount Tanneron

Mount Tanneron, peacefully standing over Cannes and Mandelieu… It’s a name we usually call in February when the place is covered with an ardent yellow blanket of Mimosas. When temperatures rise, when the tarmac exhales unbearable heat, the only way to think about climbing is if you have a solution for cooling off.

And indeed, the river is going to offer itself as the ultimate reward after your climb.

For Mathilde and Thomas, this getaway to the river feels like the Dolce Vita. Starting in Nice, they jump on the train to avoid the seaside ride out : it is too noisy, too crowded. They get off at La Napoule train station to reach the foothills of the western Côte d’Azur more swiftly in just a couple of pedal strokes.

The ideal plan for a perfect summer recovery day sounds like climbing in the heat, stopping at a shaded terrace, getting on the bike again to race downhill through the green northern side of the Tanneron and finally getting to the fresh riverbanks.

You simply need the appropriate jersey with a large cargo pocket to carry your bathing suit. Anything to dry yourself is redundant with the power of the sun. With temperatures around 32 °C, it isn’t really a question, you ride the 10 uphill kilometres under burning sunlight.

At the café in Tanneron, the plane trees are providing much appreciated shade to pause in before heading off a few kilometres downhill.

The twisty road takes them to the banks of the river Siagne (pronounce it “see-Ann”), it is a magical spot at the feet of a stone aqueduct. At first, you start with a round of observation over the bridge looking down to find the best location for your swim. Then there is this little pathway down to the river going along the chapel in Saint Cassien des Bois.

You have to put your feet down and grab your bike for a few dozen meters. On the way down you’ll grab some of the roots popping out, as if they had been placed here on purpose to help you make your way to the river. In no time the bikes are resting under the shade of a tree.

The water is deliciously fresh even in the heart of summer. This river is 45km long, it springs in Escragnoles, not too far from the small Audibergue ski resort. When it reaches Saint Cassien, it is after a long journey through the upland meadows, streaming on the limestone cliffs, staying in the shade most of the time. Putting feet and legs is enough to cool you down, the less faint hearted will take a jump, risking a little rock “scrub” on their legs or buttocks…

The road down lake Saint Cassien and the famous Route Nationale 7 will take you back to civilisation. By the time you make it to La Napoule, the urge for another swim strikes again. This time, it will be in the Mediterranean Sea.