Moving west beyond the Plage de l'Escalet beach, a salt-ridden wind whips rocks and hillside around the Sentier du Littoral. A wooden bridge that reaches over a small sea cliff is wet with waves. Hikers walk around it. The wind smells of rock fish, crumpled thymne and curry. On the hillside, a ground cover of Pin d'Alep (Pinus halepensis) and Green Oaks (Quercus ilex) hugs the ground and leans westard, perfectly sheered. They are bonsais, shaped not by a gardener's tools but by the wind, sea spray and sun that reign over this wild peninsula.
The native vegetation of the Cap Taillat is protected and untouched. Cap Camara, Cap Taillat, and Cap Lardier belong to the Conservatoire National du Littoral, a sort of National Trust for the protection of coastal environments. Created in 1975, the conservtoire protects unique environmental zones along the french coastline. It does so by acquiring land, restoring its original habitats and educating the public about their unique eco-systems. Cap Lardier is managed by the C.E.E.P. (Centre d'Etudes des Ecosystèmes de Provence) as well as by the commune of Ramatuelle.
Two kilometers from the Plage de l'Escalet, the Cap Taillat hangs on to the continent through a finger of sand or isthmus. Not so long ago, this finger and surroundings were covered with long-term and unregulated settlements of camping cars and tents.
Years ago, few dwarf fan-palm trees (Chamaérops-humilis) were ever found growing in the wild in Europe, but three were spotted on Cap Taillat. Today, dwarf fan-palms flourish in the area, helped by land protection and by the local foxes which feed on the plant's grains and deposit them
in their droppings. The endangered kidney vetch (Anthyllis-Barbajovis or locally known as Barbe de Jupiter) also thrives in this area.
Cap Taillat is a feast for the senses. Follow the yellow marked trail from Plage de l'Escalet to Cap Taillat and back, for an hour's stride. Remember to not disturb the natural environment. Leave nothing but foot tracks; take nothing but fond memories.
Click here to see Google Map of Cap Taillat.