Welcome to a stunning walking holiday in France around the French Riviera. This self-guided walking tour is graded level 2-3 but don’t let this put you off, as only one day is of level 3 difficulty. Walking in the French Riviera will show off why this destination is a real must-visit and on most people’s bucket list. Its pleasant climate, mild winters and legendary sunshine, with more than 300 days of cloudless sun a year, have seduced and attracted innumerable personalities and artists since the end of the 19th century.
Whilst on your walking holiday in France you will see many palaces from the Belle Epoque, dreamlike villas, and millionaires’ luxurious mansions that sprawl all along the coast from Nice to Menton. Perched upon its hilltop, the paradise of Monaco, a tiny, independent and prosperous country, is frequented by international jet-setters as well as the biggest names of our time.
On this super walking vacation in France, we invite you to get your boots dirty and discover the rich and sundry patrimony. The medieval villages hung in the cliffs, the châteaux that once defended the countryside and ports, the princely residences, and luxurious tropical gardens, but also the numerous natural sites that lie all along this steep coast where the Alpes plunge into the sea in grand landscapes.
Walks follow lanes, good paths and tracks along the sea or in the first slopes of the mountains. Ascents to reach the perched villages or belvederes are a little bit challenging but are short. The ascent to La turbie village is graded 3 and we propose you two routes, the direct one is strenuous but the other one is longer but less difficult. This tour requires a reasonable level of fitness.
Selected 2-star hotels or upgrade to 3-star hotels
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Hooked on Walking that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the chosen activity and for emergency evacuation and hospital care.
This magnificent city, whose origin is now a mystery is in itself worth the visit. To wander through the small streets of the old city and the numerous markets is a pleasure you must take advantage of!
A visit to Nice in the discovery of its many faces; from the Baie des Anges (Angles’ Bay) to the Promenade des Anglais, a symbol of the golden age of sea bathing. You will follow the Paillon, a stream now largely overgrown, to discover the classic city and its numerous villas, many of which today house impressive museums. You will climb the Colline de Cimiez, speckled with sumptuous villas and palaces, to attain the ruins of the ancient Roman city, the Monastère de Cimiez (monastery), and enjoy the extraordinary panorama of the bay and the city of Nice that stretches before you.
First today a taxi transfer from Nice to the citadel of Villefranche sur Mer, where the houses rise from the hillsides spread out like an amphitheatre overlooking one of the most beautiful bays of the world. From the citadel of Saint Elme, you will head out in discovery of the old city with innumerable tiny streets, small public squares and narrow stone stairwells. You will arrive at Beaulieu; an oasis of calm and peace.
Huddled around the Baie des Fourmis, at the foot of the hills that protect against the northern winds, this seaside city is one of the hottest spots along the Riviera. Palm trees, banana trees, oranges trees, and lemon trees blossom in splendid gardens and along the boulevards. You will visit the villa Kerylos, a faithful replica of a sumptuous Greek dwelling. You will then climb to the plateau Saint Michel to admire the expansive landscapes. Overnight in Beaulieu sur Mer
Today a circular route discovering the peninsula of the Milliardaires (Peninsula of Millionaires). A simple fishing village at the end of the 19th century, Saint Jean Cap Ferrat has become a fashionable seaside resort and the Cap Ferrat is scattered with superb villas. But we will turn our backs to this world to follow the coastal path which, from the beach of Passabe, pushes its way across the limestone cliffs and sharp reefs to the lighthouse of the Cap built by the Sardes in 1827. By way of the Fosse cove and beach, you will come to the Pointe Saint Hospice (Saint Hospice headland), crowned by a chapel and a monumental bronze statue of the Madonna.
You will then return towards the port of Saint Jean, where prestigious yachts, magnificent sailboats, and simple fishing boats dock together. You will return to Beaulieu by the heights of the isthmus to discover the magnitude and the beauty of a paradisiacal site of luxurious vegetation whose symbol is the Rothschild villa and its stunningly cultivated park.
The neighbourhood of Beaulieu, well protected by limestone hills, houses magnificent gardens and sumptuous villas of the Belle Epoque, which welcome illustrious British and Russian guests. Exotic plants recognized for their fragility bloom in these parts in a profusion of colour and fragrances! You will climb towards the plateau Saint Michel along the route Aurélienne where a few habitations remain which date back 2000 years. You will then descend into the valley of Saint Michel along the northern slope and will be surprised by the contrast in vegetation, which is more exuberant, with charming coppices.
Arrive at Eze sur Mer and climb again along the first heights, following historic paths, to Mont Bastide, smelling the strong fragrance of the scrub vegetation. Then, you will descend by way of the shadowed slope to Eze village, a ravishing medieval city hung on its rocky outcrop, dominated by the ruins of a château and a lovely botanical garden. Finally, you will follow the famous path Sentier Nietzche to the sea, a pathway dedicated to the famous philosopher who spent much time in these parts. In the afternoon a taxi transfer to Monaco or Beausoleil.
You will leave the city and climb towards the village of La Turbie, built partly on the coastal road and party on the via Augusta, a Roman path which led de Gênes to Cimiez. There stands the Trophée des Alpes (Trophy of the Alpes), an immense monument that the Romans had built in 76 AD in celebration of Auguste’s victory over the alpine people. Thanks to the work of the archaeologist Formige and the American patron E. Tuck, you will be able to admire a Roman masterpiece and benefit from a splendid panorama that stretches from the Italian city to the Massif de l’Esterel.
You will continue your hike along the heights to arrive at the Massif de la Tête du Chien (Dog’s Head Massif). Following the cliffs de la Loubière and descend onto Cap d’Ail by way of Roman paths. Walking along the coastal path to Monaco, arriving at the new quarter of Fontvieille on the sea. Overnight in Monaco or Beausoleil
First a taxi transfer to the beach du Beach at Roquebrune. You will arrive at the Pointe de la Vigie (Vigie headland) and climb to the chapel of Notre Dame du Bon Voyage (Our Lady of Safe Journey) to discover the majestic bay of Roquebrune and the sumptuous villas snuggled into the cliff walls. Beyond the Pointe de Cabbé (Cabbé headland), you will discover the famous wood cabin built by Le Corbusier, which stands in sharp contrast to the splendour and luxury of the surrounding villas. You will leave the waterside to head into the old village of Roquebrune, perched upon its rocky spur with its imposing château looming above.
The castle was built in the 10th-century by the Counts of Vintimille. You will return to the seaside, passing by Saint Roch and La Pausa chapels, built in the 15th century to avert the plague epidemic that ravaged the area. The coastal path will lead you through the wild, ragged landscape of the Cap Martin, which houses some of the most beautiful villas along the coast, drowned in the midst of a tall pine forest. Following the length of this long beach, you will arrive at Menton and its old city.
Overnight in Menton.
Depart after breakfast.
By plane to the Nice airport or by plane to Paris and then by TGV train to Nice in 6.5 hours
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