The French Riviera balcony & coast paths
from the backcountry villages to the seaside

 

 

 

 

 

 

Half-Day Hikes                                                                                           Full Day Hikes

Cap Taillat near Saint-Tropez

On your way to Saint-Paul de Vence
Half-day

 

Saint-Paul de Vence has been for long a source of inspiration for many artists from all over the world. The Provençal village, exquisitely perched on a hill overlooking the surrounding countryside and the sea, is your destination. You start from the charming town of Vence, within a half hour drive from Nice. After visiting the Matisse Chapel, your local guide shows you a pleasant trail on hillsides. These are carpeted in the spring by the lovely pink flowers of rock rose. When approaching St-Paul, you can visit the Maeght Foundation, an outstanding art place:  it has gathered one of the most important collections of works by artists fascinated by the light of the Riviera. Bonnard, Braque, Chagall, Giacometti, Léger and Miró among others, show us this attraction on their paintings of nature.

Walking time : 2 hours
Rating : leisurely
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, not allowed on fire risk days)

Visit of the Maeght Foundation not included.

From the heights of Bormes les Mimosas
Half-day
 

During this short hike, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a broad panorama over the Îles d’Or (Golden Islands) and the coastline, the peninsula of Giens, particularly. In the various interpretations by your private guide, you will learn about the Mediterranean flora, the dark forest of cork oak and the “maquis” that you will walk through. A thick growth of various plants, small trees and bushes makes up that type of vegetation, a little bit like garrigue. But maquis (that gave the noun “maquisard”) is so called on acid soils, such as the brown rock of Massif des Maures. The territory of the small hill range starts above Bormes les Mimosas. This little town, very pretty, is located in the western part of the French Riviera, halfway between Nice and Marseille.

Walking time : 2 hours
Rating : leisurely
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, not allowed on fire risk days)

A pleasant trip from Nice: St Jean Cap Ferrat
Half-day

This coastal hiking path around St Jean Cap Ferrat peninsula is very quickly accessible from the city of Nice. Starting from the town of Beaulieu sur Mer, it offers a short and pleasant getaway from the bustle of the French Riviera resorts. Walking all the way as closely as possible to the sea, you marvel at the beauties that Mother Nature has created for us : the sublime contrasts between the blues of the sea and sky, the whites of the rocks and the greens of the Aleppo pines and garrigue shrubs.
If you choose to start from the Jean Cap Ferrat marina, your local guide will take you on an one-hour shorter walk.

Walking time : 3.5 hours ( 2.5 hr from St Jean Cap Ferrat)
Rating : leisurely
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, not allowed on fire risk days)

The charming Cap de Saint Tropez
Half-day

Saint Tropez is located on the French Riviera, halfway between Nice and Marseille. The town and its bay were attracting the Parisian intelligentsia and artists long before the movie “And God created Woman”, starring  Brigitte Bardot, came out. Your local guide leads you along the southern coast pathway in the pretty bay, 2 km east of the famous little harbour. You walk, by turns, across beautiful beaches, rocky areas and along the seaside grounds of large mansions. From time to time, the trail offers outstanding views of the Maures mountains and the Esterel red peaks. Finally, a short slope, the only ascent of the whole hike, brings you back to the starting point.  

Walking time : 3 hours 
Rating : easy
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, not allowed on fire risk days)

A balcony trail above Monaco
Half-day
 

Starting from the center of Monaco, this half-day hike leads you to the small hilltop town above the principality : La Turbie. On the way, a scenic trail offers panoramic views of Monaco while climbing through scrubland and pine groves. Before that, to get out of the city and reach the trail, you first walk uphill, following paved streets and stairs. In La Turbie, the visit of the old village with its narrow streets is worthwile. On your way down to Monaco, about half of the hike takes place along a different trail from the one followed while climbing up. That descent trail provides great views of the city and the scenery around, too.
A variant of this hike with no elevation gain starts above La Turbie.


Walking time
: 3 hours

Rating : moderate (variant) or challenging (1,750 feet elevation gain)
Season calendar : 1/1 – 6/15  &  9/15 – 12/31

 

The Estérel red pinnacles above the sea
Half-day and Full Day

 

On this superb hike in the heart of the Estérel mountains, your professional guide leads you to the Pic du Cap Roux (1,486 feet). This peak, made of numerous red boulders towering above the Mediterranean Sea, is located between St-Raphaël and Théoule sur Mer, not far from Cannes and its Croisette. The trail, a real balcony over the Corniche de l’Estérel, offers magnificent viewpoints over the capes below and all the crags and other peaks around. In addition to the beautiful red colours, you can enjoy the strong fragrances of the local aromatic plants : rosemary, myrtus, thyme.

Walking time : from 3.5 to 5 hours
Rating : moderate
Season calendar : 1/1 – 6/15  &  9/15 – 12/31

 

Peille and Peillon : two pretty hilltop villages
Half-day and Full Day

 

Within a half-hour’s drive from Monaco and from MentonPeille is, along with Peillon, among the most typical medieval fortified villages of the French Riviera hinterland. Perched on top of craggy outcrops overlooking a deep valley, these twin towns have changed little since the Middle Ages: both come in a mass of narrow little paved streets and steps, winding up and down through arches and vaulted passageways.
Along walking paths used by cattle herds for three millenia, rosemary, thyme and other herb scents remind you that you are in Provence. The nature walk from one village to the other lasts 2 hours ; there is an alternate route for the return journey, if need be.

 

Walking time : 3 hours, including visiting the villages (5 hours with the return walk)
Rating : moderate
Season calendar : short hike : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, not allowed on fire risk days) / long hike : 1/1 – 6/15  &  9/15 – 12/31

The peaceful beauty of Porquerolles
Half-day and Full Day

 

To get an idea of the true riches of the three islands off the coast of Hyères, near Toulon, just remember that they are called Les Iles d’Or (the Golden Islands) : the unspoiled splendor of their seascapes is unique. Porquerolles, the closest to the continent, only a 10-minute boat ride away, nestles a charming tiny village. But, its treasure is the beauty of a craggy coast made of steep cliffs and secluded creeks, bathed in turquoise waters. And you reach those idyllic spots by hiking with your local guide through the typical Mediterranean vegetation, whose blooming starts during the late winter on Porquerolles island. Walking paths where you encounter nobody!
Heaven on earth !


Walking time
 : from 3 to 5 hours
Rating : moderate (stony sections)
Season calendar : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, not allowed on fire risk days)

The 3 capes hike near St Tropez
Half-day and Full Day

 

This trail is the wild part of Saint Tropez coastal path. It starts 3 miles away from Ramatuelle, beautiful hillside town located in the heart of the Saint Tropez peninsula, and follows the coastline over its full length. The three capes that you will see are Cap CamaratCap Taillat and Cap Lardier. The last two are the most impressive. They are located in an area protected from the real estate pressure. That is probably one of the reasons why the hike offers such diversified scenery and so stunning views. In a nutshell, this natural landscape would make you believe that you are dozens of miles away from the glamourous Saint Tropez.


Walking time
 : 3 hours (6 hours with the return)

Rating : easy
Season calendar : short hike : year-round (summer : 8am – 11am only, not allowed on fire risk days) / long hike : 1/1 – 6/15  &  9/15 – 12/31

The Estérel red rocks near Cannes
Full Day

 

Only 10km from the Promenade de la Croisette in Cannes, under the supervision of your local guide, you can start delightful nature hikes. During this one, you take on the Pic de l’Ours (1,627ft), one of the peaks of the Massif de l’Estérel. Volcanic red crags form these gorgeous hills that are covered by oaks and pines whose dark colors sharply contrast with. From the heights, you enjoy a beautiful panorama over the colorful hills all around. And, you can see, in the distance, La Napoule bay and the city of Cannes, on one side, and Fréjus bay, on the other. 


Walking time
 : 4.5 hours
Rating : moderate
Season calendar : 1/1 – 6/15  &  9/15 – 12/31

The balcony of the Côte d’Azur
Full Day

Missing this trail would be such a pity for someone fit hiking the French Riviera. Indeed, this walking route is one of the most exceptional above the Mediterranean coast in France. It joins La Turbie, Gorgio and Saint Agnès, the very ancient hilltop Provence towns that, respectively, overlook the cities of Monaco, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin and Menton. All day long, with ascents and descents, fabulous views over the Riviera, very close, and over the Alps, in the distance, will accompany you. 
This beautiful day hike is a must do for all those interested in exploring the south of France by foot!

Walking time : 5 hours
Rating : challenging (elevation gain : 3,200 feet)
Season calendar : 1/1 – 6/15  &  9/15 – 12/31

 

Monaco and surrounding villages & towns :
Èze, La Turbie, Cap d’Ail
Full Day

 

Starting from the seaside at Eze Bord de Mer, towered over by the Revère Plateau (2,200 ft), this hike first takes you to the hilltop medieval village of Eze, following the Nietzsche Trail. After strolling through its narrow streets and small squares, under the leadership of your local guide, you climb up to the plateau from which you can enjoy one of the most outstanding panorama of the coast, with the Cap Ferrat peninsula jutting out into the Mediterranean. Later, from the Roman town of La Turbie, you quickly discover another breathless view, totally different : the Principalty of Monaco, with its high rises and its famous rock, le Rocher, where stands the Prince’s Palace. Finally, a climb down to Cap d’Ail then allows you to end this scenic day walking along the beaches to the center of Monaco.   


Walking time
: 6 hours
Rating : challenging (2,500 feet elevation gain) 
Season calendar : 1/1 – 6/15  &  9/15 – 12/31

The Baous towering over Vence and St Jeannet
Full Day

This nature day hike starts from the charming Provence town of Vence, less than a half-hour drive from the western districts of Nice. From the rocky Baou des Blancs, high above Vence, you enjoy a first stunning view over the Baie des Anges: you can see Nice to the left, Cap d’Antibes and the Iles de Lérins, shimmering in the sea, to the right. Then, you forget for a few hours the glamourous French Riviera, walking across a land once used for cultivation and today devoted to winter pasture: the Plan des Noves. Later, your local guide leads you down into the Gorge de la Cagne, before you cross the river and proceed above the valley floor. Your last climb is up to the plateau towards the top of the most imposing crag of the area: Baou de St Jeannet. From up there, you can enjoy a breathtaking scenery : the village of Saint Jeannet below and in front the gulf from Antibes to Nice.

Walking time : 7 hours
Rating : challenging (2,800 feet elevation gain)
Season calendar : 1/1 – 6/15  &  9/15 – 12/31

The most spectacular of all these magnificent coves and inlets on the Provençal coastline are the wild ones called calanques. You can find them to the south-east of Marseille, less than a 2.5-hour drive from Nice. Their high, white cliffs beautifully overlook the contrasted turquoise and dark blue colours of the sea, creating mesmerizing panoramas, unrivaled anywhere in the world.
If you have never seen a calanque in real life, come and spend one day in Calanques National Park, one of the greatest natural wonders in France.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calanque d’En-Vau