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French Riviera Hiking and Biking in the Estérels

Estérel French Riviera

Located in southeastern France, the Estérel coastal mountain range straddles both the Var and Alpes-Maritimes departments. Of volcanic origins, the massif is roughly 32,000 hectares of rugged terrain awaiting exploration. Mont Vinaigre is the highest peak at 618 metres. According to the Estérel Côte d’Azur tourism office, there are 72 trails for biking (road, gravel and mountain), hiking, and walking that crisscross the range, including many within the protected Forêt domaniale de l’Estérel. We highlight below a few of the popular trails.

French Riviera Hiking and Biking in the Estérels Vallon de la Camandre

Vallon de la Camandre ©Estérel Côte d’Azur

The Customs footpath

Created during the time of Napoleon III (Second Empire 1848-52), customs officials walked the coastal pathway – le Sentier du littoral – monitoring marine traffic and smugglers.

Estérels Sentier du littoral

Sentier du littoral ©Estérel Côte d’Azur

Start this moderate trail at the San Peïre beach in Roquebrune sur Argens – Les Issambres. Parking is available in the Arpillon lot. Walking east towards Saint-Raphaël to the Pointe de la Calle, you will pass sandy beaches and small inlets. Enjoy the viewpoints, including a Gallo-Roman era fishpond, along this 4.8 km trail (one direction). Walk the path as an out and back excursion, or take the bus from Pointe de la Calle back to your starting point.

Fayence: Le Vallon de la Camandre

Estérels Point de vue Vallon de la Camandre

Vallon de la Camandre ©Estérel Côte d’Azur

Enjoy the Pay de Fayence countryside with views of the Estérel massif on this family-friendly walk. Starting in Fayence, the 2-hour walk is a leisurely 6.6 km stroll along La Camandre through the forested hills. In Fayence park near the Tourist Office and follow the yellow markings. The trail passes a small waterfall.

Here are more family-friendly walks in the region.

Le Pont des Tuves

A 6km hike from Montauroux of medium difficulty, the walk takes about 2 ½ hours. Along the route, discover the enchanted oak forest with trees that are several hundred years old. Situated in Les Gorges de la Siagne, the trail follows the river with a waterfall and Le Pont des Tuves. Constructed in 1802 atop Roman ruins, Le Pont des Tuves is beautiful and steeped in history.

French Riviera Hiking and Biking in the Estérels Pont des Tuves

Pont des Tuves ©Estérel Côte d’Azur

Prepare for your Active Visit

The Esterel Côte- d’Azur tourism website includes a handy tool for searching by activity type, length, and difficulty. There is something for everyone.

French Riviera Hiking and Biking in the Estérels Cascade de Tuff

Cascade de Tuff ©Estérel Côte d’Azur

In the summer months, between June and the end of September, make sure to check this website for the current fire risk. When the fire risk rating is orange or red, choose another activity away from the forest.

Guidebook Cote d'azur Hiking

©Estérel Côte d’Azur

Guidebooks and maps are sold (€ 2.50) in tourist offices of Saint-Raphaël, Fréjus, Puget-sur-Argens, Les Adrets, the 9 tourist offices of the Pays de Fayence, at the Maison du Lac de Saint-Cassien, as well as at Leclerc Valescure. They are also available on the tourism website for a fee that includes shipping costs.

Discover additional ideas for active holidays near the Côte d’Azur.

Plan to visit some or all of these five (5) parks near the French Riviera.

Hiking Tips

Whether hiking near the French Riviera or elsewhere, always take the appropriate safety precautions: carry water, snacks, sunscreen, hats, wear proper shoes, and take extra layers. Never hike alone, or if you must advise someone of your departure and expected return time. A set of compact walking/trekking poles is always a good precaution for rocky, steep or slippery trails.

Institute National de l’Information Géographique et Forrestiére (IGN) maps are detailed and very accurate. There is also an IGN application for smartphones and details on the IGN website.


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Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

With her camera and laptop close at hand, Carolyne has traded in her business suits for the world of freelance writing and blogging. Her first airplane ride at six months of age was her introduction to the exciting world of travel.

While in Provence, Carolyne can be found hiking with friends, riding the hills around the Alpilles or tackling Mont Ventoux. Her attachment to the region resonates in Perfectly Provence this digital magazine that she launched in 2014. This website is an opportunity to explore the best of the Mediterranean lifestyle (food & wine, places to stay, expat stories, books on the region, travel tips, real estate tips and more), through our contributors' articles.

Carolyne writes a food and travel blog Ginger and Nutmeg. Carolyne’s freelance articles can be found in Global Living Magazine, Avenue Magazine and City Palate (Published Travel Articles).

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