major disaster in the history of our country, breaking the Malpasset Dam in 1959 marked forever Frejus. The wave 40 meters high that swept through the valley to the sea drowned everything in its path, leading to the disappearance of several hundred people.
Looked after World War II, the construction of a dam upstream of Frejus's primary objective is to create a reserve of water that allows regular irrigation of local cultures. The dam is built at a place called "Malpasset" on the course Reyran. The torrent Reyran has the particularity its irregular flow, flood in winter and dry in summer. The arch dam was inaugurated in 1954. Its impoundment has been incomplete for several years, due to the little rainy climate, but also judicial procedures that slow the setting dam of service. The year 1959 is on very wet hand. The level of the dam up quickly, not allowing a gradual control impoundment site. In early winter, heavy rains reach the maximum capacity of the dam. Downstream of the work, the highway is under construction and the concrete piers of the overpass just been cast. The opening of the valves can take place, the risk of flooding the site. Despite the decision of the officials of the site to leave to drain some of the water retained from 18 hours, the dam bursts at 9:13 p.m. under the pressure of million m3 of water.
The dam failure causes the destructive wave of a wave of more than 40 m high, which floods the valley in its path, causing 423 casualties in just 20 minutes. The water sweeping down to the sea through the center of Frejus, tearing kilometers of track, and engulfing fifty farms in its path.
Witness this unique deadliest disaster on French territory, the current site Malpasset still houses the remains of the gutted dam. Shrine of Remembrance and visit the site is freely accessible. It reveals a surprising scene of a nature that tries to resume gradually its rights of monumental concrete blocks, carried by water as insignificant rocks several kilometers. The tranquility of the place contrast to the violence of the disaster.
Walking tours and mountain bike tours allow to reach the foot or at the top of the dam. In season Malpasset site guided tours are available Tuesday morning. The appointment is given to the tourist office and access to the site of the car park is by car. These visits are intended to explain the technical specifics of arch dam, to return to the place of the disaster and discuss its causes. They are also an opportunity to take a pleasant walk in the Esterel mountains in a quiet atmosphere conducive to meditation.
To discover the site freely, several options for visitors: from the car park under the overpass, a 1 km trail allows to arrive at the foot of the dam, another on the heights. A hike 5 km also proposes to loop and enjoy successively setting at the foot of the dam and gazebo overlooking the work. The course Reyran at very changeable flow is monitored in case of heavy rain in the hours or days before any come to the site.
The Frejus arch dam is also the destination or one of the stages of several golf mountain biking in the mountains.