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France XC Safari

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France XC Safari

Availability : Fully Booked


An XC safari in France beckons pilots in September 2019. After the success of our 2018 trip we are happy to announce that we are doing it again in 2019.We will be flying in the superb skies of the St Andre, Laragne and Annecy areas. Although this is planned as a two week tour, pilots can choose to do it a week at a time. As long as you can drive from the airport and join the group, you can dip in and out of the safari based on your convenience. The price for 2 weeks is £1250 and 1 week is £625.


St Andre, Laragne and Annecy are without doubt  three of the best XC areas in Europe, they are certainly favourites of ours. With an abundance of beautiful launch sites and seemingly never ending terrain, these areas are a paradise for both aspiring and expert XC pilots alike. Escape has been running trips to these locations for around two decades because of the reliable conditions, suitability to all levels of pilot, choice of take off sites, well established infrastructure, infinite array of potential routes and tasks, breath taking scenery and local hospitality.

We ran our first XC Safari course in France in August / September of 2018 and after a great two weeks, we are pleased to offer another two week XC package in September 2019 for those pilots who are interested in a multi destination flexible agenda with a focus on as much XC as your heart and glider desire. We have been flying these areas for many, many years and hope to have the chance to join up some of the classic routes that we have enjoyed so many times in the different areas.

Our adventure will start in the Alpes de Haute Provence, where we will base ourselves in St Andre les Alpes, at the Hotel Monge where Jocky first stayed 30 years ago as a bold, enthusiastic young competiton and test pilot. Here we can enjoy what is considered by many to be the best flying site in France, Chalvet (St Andre), as well as having the chance to fly from Moustier St Marie (near the Verdon Gorge), or travel to the Maritime Alps sites of Col de Blein or Gourdon and attempt to fly back to St Andre and beyond. Flying in this area in late summer is more friendly than in late spring or early summer when it has a reputation for being strong, but still gives the opportunity for some long XC routes, for example, the classic route from St Andre to Dormillouse and back.

After four or five days, we then head up to Laragne Monteglin, attempting to fly as far as we can in that direction and getting picked up along the way. We will be based at Camping Monteglin (home of the Ozone Chabre Open) where we have a choice of accommodation options, as well as a pool, wi-fi and onsite restaurant. We have lots of good XC sites available to us in this area, Buc, Aspres, Bergies, La Trappe, St Vincent les Forts and St Jean Montclar, and of course we will have chance to explore the routes set from Chabre itself as tasks during the Chabre Open, and other favourites of ours, in recent years we have flown to St Hilaire from Chabre (124km) and to St Andre from Buc (141km) as well as lots of other beautiful, memorable flights.

After a few days in and around Laragne, we will then attempt to fly as far north aswe can toward our final destination, the Annecy area. It is quite a regular occurrence to fly at least as far as Grenoble (100km) on a good Chabre day. This time we will stay at the Nubliere campsite near Doussard at the south end of the lake, as we do for our June SIV/XC courses.

When flying XC in the Annecy area, we make use of the smooth reliable thermals flying over the beautiful mountains of Le Dent de Lanfon, Tournette, Roc des Bouefs and Parmelan, occasionally flying into the Bauges or along the Aravis if the conditions are good. We also plan to visit some of the other flying sites, perhaps Marlens, Semnoz or those nearer to Chamonix if the weather alows. In previous years, we have had some excellent flying in Annecy in September, we have flown the Grand tour de Lac a few times, had several flights to the Chamonix area and some great out and returns or triangles intio the Bauges.

We are well aware that it is possible to fly from close to the Mediteranean to Chamonix in one flight or in several stages, in fact we have done this over the years. The aim of this trip is to be flexible enough to get the best out of each day and fly in whatever direction and from whichever site to give us the best and safest flying without the pressure of having a fixed schedule. If all the stars align and we have the conditions to do some big flights, we will certailny try.

This should be a great trip again, we hope it will appeal to those looking for something a little different, who already know the area as well as those that would like to. As we intend flying at many sites, we would suggest that you do some research before the trip to help familiarise yourselves with the terrain. We have links to some of the routes that we regularly do on this page, and you can also use Tom Payne's excellent "XC PLanner"  and many other ineternet sites to help with preparation.

In 2018, we guided our group well over 700km in just over 44 hours. We flew every day and averaged over 50km each day.

There are plenty of other activities in this area such as climbing, paddlesport, walking, mountain biking, horse riding, via ferrata, go kart racing  etc.if you feel like teking a day off , or if we have any down time due to weather. Our own XC guide extraordinaire, Chris White, has claimed these areas of France as his favorite place to fly in the entire world…we might be on to something here!  

The most convenient airport to start this trip is Marseille, and when we finish, it is best to get a flight out of Geneva. Please check the flights and transfers section.

Additional Info

Location St Andre, Laragne & Annecy
Site details and weather updates
Guide / Instructor Chris White
Course Fee Details The safari fee of £1250 includes guiding, briefs and debriefs, theory sessions, airport transfers from Geneva and to Marseilles, transport to take off and dedicated XC retrieval, for the two weeks. Pilots can also select to fly with us for just a week for £625. The fee will be adjusted according to the number of days you select.

We will make reservations at the hotel Monge during our time in St Andre arriving on the evening of Sunday 1st September, we will then base ouselves at Camping Monteglin while we are in Laragne and Camping Nubliere at Doussard while we enjoy the delights of the Annecy area, you may also choose to make your own arrangements, camp or stay in your camper or caravan as you please.

Flights & Transfers

Possible Options :

  • Arrive Marseille depart Geneva for the full two weeks.
  • Arrive Marseille depart Marseille first week only
  • Arrive Marseille depart Geneva second week only

We will run an airport pick up from Marseille at 18.00 on Sunday 1st September ready for the start of the course on 2nd.

We will run a Marseille airport shuttle at 20.00 on Sunday 8th September for those going home after the first week or arriving for the second week.

We will take the minibus to Geneva on the evening of Sunday 15th September at 19.00 at the end of the second week.


We assume that you will arrive with a functional paraglider, harness and reserve parachute (we are happy to check it for you). You will also need :

  • Vario/alti vario (ideally with GPS).
  • 2m radio ( these can be hired from us at £25 per week)
  • Medical repatriation insurance and E111 card, GPS (is advised but not essential)
  • Warm clothing/flying suit (we often have cloudbase above 3,000m which can be cold, even in July and August)

Please ensure that you have filled in and understood our acceptance of risk form on our website. Local maps are readily available at local shops.


Flight Logs
team pilots team pilotsTeam Pilots

The world renowned pilot, Jocky Sanderson, leads a squadron of experienced instructors and guides who provide coaching on courses all over the world.

classic routes classic routes Classic Routes

Check out the classic routes regularly flown by our team during various XC courses, from superb flying sites in France, India, Colombia, Australia & UK

bespoke trips bespoke tripsBespoke Guided Trips

If you want to go on a guided flying trip, in any part of the world, write to us. Based on your group size and duration, we will provide a completely tailor-made solution, with a world-class guide and retrieves.

loyalty discount loyalty discountLoyalty Discount

As a way of saying thank you to our clients, we are offering a loyalty discount for all pilots who have flown with us in the past. Use the coupon 'escapecourse' during checkout.

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