Leaping off cliffs into space with a flimsy contraption on your back seems to be a favorite sport in this part of the world, with many visitors from other countries coming here for expressly that purpose. Not only is the weather good and pleasurable, but the climate is inducive to thermals and the multitude of hills and mountains are ideal for jumping into the void.
There are take-off sites all along the coast and throughout the back country. We'll build up the list here over the next few months as we find them in our travels. As you travel, look for wind socks in fields, indicating the landing sites. Upwards, you can usually see the take-off points from quite a distance if you know what you're looking for: the sign of open dirt or wooden platforms slanting downwards at the edge of steep hill or cliff.
Azur Vol Libre
372 chemin du Bosquet; 06620 Le Bar-sur-Loup
Tel: (33) 493 09 44 54; Fax: (33) 493 09 44 54
Ecole de parapente de l'Ubaye is a paragliding school, located at the Aérodrome de Saint-Pons, a couple of km west of Barcelonnette. Address: 04400 Barcelonnette; Tel: (33) 492 81 34 93; fax: (33) 492 81 15 17.
Dinovol is a paragliding school, at 87 boulevard Gassendi, 04000 Digne-les-Bains; Tel/Fax: (33) 492 32 42 06; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; web: http://parapente.dinovol.free.fr.
Bléon'Ailes provides a shuttle service to paragliding and hang gliding sites around Digne. Bar le Férréol, Route de Nice, 04000 Digne; Tel: (33) 492 31 00 89.
There are a few sites very near the village of Gourdon,
about 15 km North of Grasse.
(That's Gourdon in the photograph above.)
this town, 20 km northwest of Sisteron, attracts paragliders and hanggliders for descents from the nearby Montagne de Chabre (1313 m).
Provence Evasion in Marcoux (6 km north of Digne) has professional guides for paragliding. Le Logis Neuf, 04420 Marcoux; Tel: (33) 476 92 40 05.
Verdon Passion is a paragliding outfit in Moustiers-Ste-Marie, 45 km west of Castellane and about 50 km south of Digne. Address: 04370 Moustiers-Ste-Marie; Tel: (33) 492 74 69 77; Fax: (33) 492 74 60 71. Moustiers-Ste-Marie is worth a visit anyway but, located at the northern end of the Lac de St. Croix and the western end of the Grand Canyon du Verdon, it's pretty busy during the summer season.
C.P.N. - Cercle Parachutiste de Nice
7, Rue Gubernatis; 06300 Nice
Tel: (33) 493 62 28 91; (33) 493 98 01 10
Open: Tue, Thur; 10h-20h30
This is one of the most popular paragliding sites in the South of France, especially during the winter, with a large international participation.
Information: Hotel Westminster (500 m from the landing place )
14 Avenue louis laurens; 06190 Roquebrune Cap Martin
tel: (33) 493 35 00 68; fax: (33) 493 28 88 50
St. Jean-Montclar (04)
Envol de Provence provides paragliding and the St. Jean-Montclar station, just north of Seyne-les-Alpes. Address: 04140 Montclar; Tel: (33) 492 35 15 24; Fax: (33) 492 35 30 81.
Seyne-les-Alpes is 41 km north of Digne, on the main D900 road. The Mairie (city hall) of Seyne provides a shuttle service to the Col Bas of the Dormillouse mountain. This is about 6 km northeast of Seyne, at 2100 m altitude. Maison des Jeunes, 04140 Seyne-les-Alpes; Tel: (33) 492 35 00 42; Fax: (33) 492 35 18 98.
Aérogliss at the Base de Loisirs des Iscles (leisure-sports center) provides facilities and professional guidance for paragliding. Jump-off is from the mountains just northwest of St. André, and landing is just at the edge of town, on the open plain at the end of the Lac de Castillon. Address: 04170 St. André-les-Alpes; Tel: (33) 492 89 11 30; Fax: (33) 492 89 02 36.
There's a hanggliding club here in Vinon-sur-Verdon, near the junction of the Verdon and the Durance in the center of Provence.