The French Côte d’Azur's best-kept secret
December in Saint-Tropez

Hiking the Estérel: La Baisse de la Grosse Vache

Hiking Esterel, Col du baladou, AzurAlive

After lunch on Monday, our hiking group decided it was too sunny to stay indoors. We went hiking around the Baisse de la Grosse Vache, in the Estérel Mountains between Cannes and St Raphael.

As usual, the Estérel displayed its ravines and its low-lying hills like a green sea. You find no cement buildings that block the sun here. Just rocky footpaths surrounded by cork oaks, up-swept branches of heath trees, bushes of rock roses and Spanish broom that turn yellow in the Spring.

You walk to the rhythmic crunch of boots on rocks with a wide green expanse around you, prickly fresh air on your face and the maquis' still fragrant bushes of cistus and strawberry trees.

On our return leg on this 7 km hike, we walked with the Perthus mountain of the Estérel to our right, a sheer wall like a block of carved clay.

"C'est comme le Colorado," said someone up front, looking at the auburn cliff of the Perthus.

Hiking Esterel, Les Suvières, AzurAlive

Getting there:

Enter the Massif de l'Estérel from the seaside town of Agay, heading inland at the roundabout and then turning right about 1.5km from Agay.

Continue to the Col de Belle Barbe. Continue beyond this Col to the next one, the Col du Mistral. Park there and begin your hike at the footpath to the right.

Hiking Esterel, Hiking Path, AzurAlive

Hiking Details:

6.7 km round-trip.
Accessible year-round, although the Estérel can close in the summer when fire risks run high.

Want to escape the crowds of the Côte d'Azur to stroll on the region's most gorgeous footpaths?
Check out our latest hiking guide.

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