Local Flying :: Sospel
Sospel is 40km (30 minutes) NE of Nice, or 15 minutes from Menton. It lies in the heart of the Bévera valley, protected by a cirque of mountains which surround it. It is very close to both the borders of the Mercantour National park, and of Italy. You are not allowed to fly in the National park itself (unless you are more than 1000m above the ground!), and this rule is taken very seriously by park wardens.
The Lavina launch is good for beginners, with its South-Easterly orientation facilitating morning flights, and the vast grassy land below take-off allowing for easy landings. Later in the morning, as the thermals get stronger, it becomes a good XC site too.
The Agaisen launch, which faces SW, is perfect for going XC from. The locals call it “The Lift”, for its large, regular thermals, and people have flown to Saint-Andre from here (appx 75km).
The views from on high are amazing: Mont Mangiabo to the north, Italy to the east and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. On a clear day you can see the point of Saint Tropez to the west.
Further information and local advice can be found from the Club’s HQ at the Bar du Marché (ask for Pierre, the club’s president, or look on the notice boards).
Sospel is most easily reached from the Menton exit of the A8 along the D2566, but you could also take the RD2204 from Nice.
1. Mt Agaisen: Once in Sospel, take the road signposted to the college. A left turning from this road climbs to Mont Agaisen. The road is tarmaced or concreted all the way to the top, and is suitable for all vehicles.
2. Tête de la Lavina: Take the D2204from Sospel towards Col de Braus. Here, join a forest track to the south which takes you up Tête de la Lavina.
3. Mont Gros (or Monte Grosso): The track from the Agaisen launch continues to wind its way up Mont Gros.
1. Le Pigeonnier: From Sospel, take the road towards Nice as far as the Mairie. From the square, turn left past the Monument. Park in front of the Co-operative. The footpath to the landing field is 400m away.
2. La Friguiera: La Friguiera is a gîte d’Etape, and is on the west side of Sospel. The footpath is sign-posted from the village.
- IGN Serie Vert 1:100 000 map 61, “Nice Barcelonnette”
- Michelin Carte Routière et Touristique, 1 :200 000 map 245, ” Provence Cote d’Azur “.
- IGN ” Top 25 ” (1 :25 000) map 3741 ET.
:: Take-offs and Landings
|Name / Orientation
||Altitude (m AMSL)
|Mt Agaisen SE to SW. (3 take-off areas)
||43°53′22″N - 07°27′23″E
||400m top-to-bottom. Dangerous in a strong easterly. Landing is at Le Pigeonnier. The locals call this “L’Ascenseur”, or “the Lift”!
|Tête de la Lavina NW & SE
||43°52′01″N - 07°24′18″E
||700m top- to bottom. Valley wind can be strong. Land at La Friguiera.
|Mont Gros SE to S
||43°54′51″N - 07°28′08″E
||Dangerous with winds from the west to south-west. Land in Le Pigeonnier. Beware, this launch is right at the edge of the Mercantour National park - don’t accidentally stray! The launch is only recommended for experienced pilots.
||Altitude (m AMSL)
|Terrain du Pigeonnier
||43°52′46″N - 07°27′30″E
||Turbulent in the middle of the day due to the valley wind. Strong wind gradient. Warning: Electric line in the middle of the field.
||43°53′00″N - 07°25′48″E
||Private land belonging to a gîte - please respect it as such. North-West electricity line at the landing field.
:: Useful Numbers
||Tel / Radio frequency
||Website / Email
|Sospel Parapente L’Arcadia 2″-139 ,Av de la Lanterne -
|Club Sospel Vol Libre,
Bar du Marche,
|President Pierre Lauziere,
tel 04 93 51 04 42
|School ABC d’AIR Sospel
||04 93 21 11 39
|Tourist Office. Office de Tourisme et d’animations de Sospel,
|04 93 04 15 80
|Radio frequency of FFVL balise (one sensor is mounted at Sospel)
:: Other Activities
- There is plenty to see in the historic town of Sospel, including:
- Miniature train museum and the 4 carriages of the Orient Express.
- 18th century cathedral St Michel with a roman tower
- The old bridge
- The medieval square in St Nicolas suburb with the old communal palace and 12th century arches.
- 15th century fountain.
- 17th century St Croix chapel.
- Remains of the “château de Sospel”.
- A botanical walk.
- There is also plenty of walking available, with several of the Grande Randonée(GR) long-distance routes (GR 52, GR 52A, GR510) passing through.
- Also available is fishing, mountain biking, canyoning, climbing, tennis, swimming.