Fréjus – the broken dam of Malpasset
Fréjus, Cote d’Azur, France
An incredible walk through nature and history.
Have you ever heard of the broken dam of Malpasset?
I hadn’t before I went there, but it is quite an impressive site.
The area of the ‘Site de Malpasset’ is a beautiful, natural site, but which unfortunately has a sad history. On one evening, in December 1959 the Malpasset dam, which was built to supply water in the Var area, broke due to the heavy rainfall in the days before. What happened next is known as one of the biggest disasters of the 20th century in France. The water behind the dam created powerful floodings and a wave of water carried big cement blocks of the dam with it for more than one kilometer. You can still see the big cement blocks lying around while you walk towards the remains of the dam.
The water went as far as the town of Fréjus and even derailed a train. Of course, there have been many victims at the time, and that is why the ‘Site de Malpasset’ is a place of respect, a monument. The remains of the dam are quite impressive to see and make you realize what a disaster the break of it must have been.
The surrounding nature is very beautiful and that is why nowadays, the ‘Site de Malpasset’ is mainly used by cyclists and pedestrians. The walk from the small parking lot towards the dam can easily be done with the entire family. We were there in spring and beautiful wild flowers were in bloom and the nice smells that are so typical of the vegetation of the South of France was all around.
Our children like family hikes and love exploring around and searching for treasures. They have found beautiful rocks, one of which heart shaped, and they liked to play next to the water. They too were quite impressed by the ruins of the dam.
Besides the sad history, the ‘Site de Malpasset’ really is a beautiful environment to walk around in.
Where? Right next to the highway exit Fréjus / Saint-Raphael, follow the signs: Site de Malpasset.
Would you like to know what else you can do in Fréjus? Have a look here.
Would you like to read my full article on what to do for families in the Cote d’Azur, you can read about that here.