The magical mayhem of the Coupe Icare takes place on the third weekend of September at Saint Hilaire du Touvet and the Lumbin landing field near Grenoble in the south of France.
This year’s festival pays homage to the great Leonardo Da Vinci, who died 500 years ago! There will be an exhibition at the church of Saint Hilaire and shows on the theme of the great Italian inventor.
A huge trade show takes over two large marquees as well as outdoor stands; demonstration flights from all sorts of craft fill the sky, and the fancy-dress fly down is one of the event’s biggest draws, with some truly crazy costumes. Don’t forget the all-important film festival that runs throughout the long weekend. As well as all of this, the south take-off becomes a children’s wonderland, with activities from kite-making to science lessons to meeting birds of prey.
Paragliding from the sites during the daytimes is restricted to fancy-dress competitors and authorised pilots, but plenty make the early-morning hike to the Dent de Crolles if conditions allow, for a morning fly down among hot air balloons.
Test out new lightweight equipment, speak to manufacturers and join in the group hike-and-fly sorties, under the watchful gaze of Mont Blanc. Or atop it, if you are really, really lucky!
The 4807 Flying Light salon at Saint-Gervais-les-Bains is now in its twelfth year and supported by 14 major paragliding equipment manufacturers. It’s grown in duration to a five-day event, and is one not to be missed if you love hike-and-fly in high mountains.
It’s free to enter the trade area, €10 to test out material.