Hiking: L'Estérel Rocher St. Barthélemy
Hiking around Nice: Mont Vinaigrier

Beach by Hyères: L'Almanarre

Plagealmanarre

The Plage de l'Almanarre Beach, on the western neck of the Giens Peninsula by the town of Hyères, is a hot bed of windsurfing and kite-surfing. The beach is long, sandy and wild. Behind it, pink flamingoes stroll in the Etangs de Pesquiers. It's also exposed to side and onshore winds and with a sea bed that drops fast. This draws wind players to l'Almanarre.

If you do not like to play with the wind, l'Almanarre is still a fun visit where sportsy locals come to sail, jog or just hike along its flat boardwalk-like sandy path. For pure immobile beaching, the more protected beaches on the eastern side of the peninsula might be a better choice.

Today, the Grand Prix de l'Almanarre 2007 windsurfing competition took place at l'Almanarre. Junior sailors (between ten and fourteen years old slalomed around the race buoys in light winds. The race continues this weekend. See http://hwo.free.fr

Plagedelamadrague

On the next beach further south, going up on the Route du Sel road up the Giens Peninsula, you'll find the Plage de La Madrague. We bumped in to the yearly Ventilo Show. During this show, new windsurfing boards, sails and kayaks can be borrowed and sailed right off the beach. See: www.ventilo-show.com

If you're in the area, swing by the Etangs de Pesquiers and see if you can spot a string of ping flamingoes noodling necks in the brown waters of the old salt pans, looking for algae and little fish.

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