The spectaular Mercantour National Park is out of bounds to pilots – you face a fine and kit confiscation if you land, launch or fly at less than 1,000m agl here.
La Colmiane allows you to get close to the big terrain here legally. This small ski resort lies on a col about 40km north of Nice – from the col you can drive up a dirt track to the take-off on Pic de la Colmiane. The landing is in a large football field to the west.
Alternatively you can drive up to the large southwest face of the Tête du Brec. The normal launch is just above the road on the large grassy slope, although there are plenty of hike-and-fly options.
The valley is sheltered and can provide safe flying even when it is windy elsewhere, just remember conditions can be widely different if you head off XC. Climbing high on the big slopes will give you spectacular views of the rocky mountains beyond.
Photo: Charlie King
This appeared in the 2016 Travel Guide as part of Golden Ticket, a collection of sites where the Alps touch the Mediterranean on the Cote d’Azur and you’ll find spectacular year-round flying.