You step on a bed of lemony-mint pine needles that covers the footpath. Ahead, a cove shines blue and green like an opal. Beyond the cove, the skeleton of a tree hangs off a cliff. You spot a bluebird niched in the red cliff, dozing in the sun.
Cap Dramont is not a place for rushing.
On this seaside edge of l'Esterel, 26 kms west of Cannes, 8 km east of Saint-Raphael, balcony views of the Mediterranean are protected - Cap Dramont cannot be built. The ONF and the French Marine share ownership of its 60 hectares. You hike minutes away from the RN98 road traffic, among comfortable pathes only accessible by foot, between ravines of red rocks that plunge into the sea and the forested hills of le parc forestier du cap du Dramont.
The 2-hour loop around Cap Dramont is popular with families. While a section of the path climbs up and down rocks along the shore, it is safe if you watch your step and stay on the path. The rocky section is not recommended for young children.
Begin your hike at the Plage du Débarquement, where the 36th Texas Infantry Division rolled in on August 15, 1944 in World War II to help liberate France.
Walk over the gray pebbles on the beach heading east towards the Port du Poussai. Continue past the Mirage Bleu snack bar. After a snack-bar, climb up stairs on the left and follow the yellow paint signs of the Sentier du Littoral.
After 50 meters, turn right towards the sea among a forest of green oaks and arbousiers. There's a little beach on the right with a side green Esterelite rocks endemic to the Esterel.
You continue up on the main path stepping over red rocks and woven roots up through the back side of climbing cliffs.
The path merges with a wider one. Veer right on the path which soon opens up to a panorama over a string of bays to the south: St Raphael, Les Issambres, St Tropez and in the distance Cap Camarat with a lighthouse.
You reach an intersection. To the left, a gray asphalt road leads to the belvedere. Though access to the belvedere is forbidden (it is a marine base), the view of the Esterel mountains from its perimeter is worth the steep detour.
You head back down the Semaphore path to rejoin your orginial path and continue your journey towards the Camp Long Beach.
In the distance stands a square tower plopped atop the tiny island of Ile d'Or.
The island was sold by the French state in 1897 and bought by the
offbeat Dr Auguste Lutaud who proclaimed himself in festive fanfare
King Auguste 1st of the kingdom of l'Ile d'Or. The island remains in
private property today. L'Ile d'Or is said to have inspired author Hergé in his much-beloved Tintin series on L'Ile Noire.
The path heads down towards a steep ravine; ahead of you, a tiny bay shines blue and green like an opal. You hike around the ravine.
After a fun walk over rocks by the shore, you reach a bouloudrome where you might find a group of friends carefully throwing their leaded balls as close as possible to the cochonet as they play boules. Continue pass them and reach the beach of Camp Long where a snack bar offers refreshments and food in the summer.
You return to the Plage du Debarquement through a wooded path that you reach from the perched parking lot of Camp Long. The path heads up away from the sea and contourns the backside of Cap Dramont. It leads you among Pins d'Alep and Pins Maritimes to the back of Port du Poussai.
Discover the Cote d'Azur's most gorgeous footpaths with our latest hiking guide.