Form of the festival: Official
Place: Gourdon, France
Length of lines: 580-200m
Height range: 25-50m
Distance to spots: 5-10 min
Availability of spots: sneakers
Safety: buddy check
Additionally: organize your trip in advance
You landed in Gourdon. You can take a walk and watch the view horizontally or sit and look down from the top.
You can watch this micro-town, one of the most beautiful in France. It has won two flowers (i.e. almost a bouquet!) in the beauty contest of blooming towns and villages.
You can look down the Wolf Valley, or precisely – the valley of the Wolf River (Le Loup). Further, at a distance of 20 km in a straight line from your eyes, you notice the azure of the Mediterranean. Straight down is Cannes, left down is Nice – probably better known French towns. In the foreground there is the festival’s spot No.1 – yes, you can also look at it.
Gourdon, with its nickname “Eagle’s Nest”, due to its location on the rock, 758 meters above the sea level, was an unconquered fortress for almost a thousand years. First, the Romans nested here, then for two centuries Saracens and today the castle’s been inhabited by 400 residents. And, in these circumstances, on December 8th, 2018 the first edition of the slacklining festival took place.
It takes 1,15h from Nice to Grasse by train. The train goes through Cannes, so if you travel in May, you can steal a glance at the local film festival. There is also a bus line 500 on this route. According torome2rio, there is bus number 512, from Grasse to Gourdon, once a day; according to other sources, there isn’t. Either way, the alternative is a walking tour, probably lovely sightseeing, 500m elevation gain and less than 3 hours of hiking.
As you can see, the Eagle Nest is still not an easily accessible place. To save few hours for walking the lines, get a vehicle with an engine: your own, borrowed, hitchhiked, two-wheeler, four … or ask for a ride organizer (ATA Slack) or ask a question onSlackline Nice eitherSlack Marseille.
The first edition of the festival was officially a one-day edition, which eliminated the problem of accomodation. Unofficially, the lines stayed for the next day. The only thing that comes to my mind regarding cheap accommodation is a large, flat, grassy square (meadow), next to spot No. 2, where the slacklining town is organized.
Info-point is located on the main observation deck of1 Place Victoria.
Take sandwiches. If you run out of sandwiches, they make good crepes at the stall at 1 Victoria Place. It is a crêperie stand put up during the festival, which means that the crêperie itself is also somewhere here. If you are not a fan of pancakes, you find a gourmet grocery store and at least 4 restaurants in the town, with prices adequate to the scenery.
Reaching the town’s main gate, on the left, you see the headquarters of town’s main public toilet. Next to it, there’s an alley down, which will take you to spot No.1. Going down, you walk around the town and reach the place where the lines are clearly visible. Turn left on a rock and scramble through a woodlet – you get onto spot No.1. Here, when returning from the longest, most exposed line, you have a great view of the sea.
Getting to spot 2 is even easier. You don’t have to go to the city or the toilet. Just turn left 100 m earlier, into the parking lot. Then traverse the parking lot and land on the green meadow, which was mentioned above in the accommodation paragraph. On the right, above the precipice, you have spot No.2. Just below, you see the winding streets and buildings of Pont Du Loup and in the distance, for a change, a view of the sea.
In your free – time worth to see:
12th century Gourdon Castle built on the ruins of 9th century Sarrasin fortress and the 18th-century rock gardens adjoined to the castle;
Church of Notre-Dame from the 12th century;
Saint-Vincent Chapel, built in the 11th and 12th century – frescoes were added later;
Snip! And you’ve see it all! …Or everything was closed and you were uninformed.
Then you are left with a Troglodyte Fortress and natural attractions of the Loup Canyon, including Cascades du Saut du Loup.