I’ve covered many biking and boarding opps along the coast of Cote d’Azur that are most worth going to and reachable from Nice. But there’s a lot more happening up in the hills behind Nice, but to get to them I need transportation. This past weekend a friend lent me her car, and as Flo was out of town, I could use the bike rack and put the paddle board in the back of the car and head out and do some exploring.
Day One: Lake Cassien
I’d found a lake near Cannes that looked interesting for paddling called Lake Cassien, which is a damned lake situated behind the hills of the Esterels.
There are numerous ways to access the lake, with a number of restaurants along the shoreline that, along with providing food and drinks, also rent out small boats. The most popular boats I saw were paddle boats, driven by two people peddling a paddle wheel, with a slide on the top. It seems that gas engines are not allowed on the lake, as the only engines I saw were small electric ones.
The lake is surrounded by forest with just a few homes actually on the lake and only a few on the hillsides above. One roads actually goes right over the lake by bridge, but other than that, and when you far enough away from the bridge, it is extremely quiet. I paddled north on a glass-like surface with very few other people around, just a few fisherman. On the way I had a swim in clear green fresh water that was simply wonderful – out in the middle of the lake with no one around, just me and my board and the green hills around me.
But when I got to the far north shore and turned around, a big black cloud had rolled in and along with it, strong winds. This made it very difficult for me to make it back to where I started, as I was 3-4 km from my launch site and the wind was right on my nose. I sat down rather than standing, to help me make headway. About halfway up the lake the wind (fortunately) subsided and I could stand back up again and make it back to the car.
Once I was packed up I crossed the bridge and head north passing through Tourney, Les Veyans and Speracedes. I made my way up to the interesting town of Cabris, which sits out on a rock formation that provides great views of the valley below, Lake Cassien, and the Med. From there I went to Gourdon and then made my way back to Nice.