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March 2008
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May 2008

A Gift from the Esterel Mountains of the Cote d'Azur

Hiking on the Esterel St Barthelemy Footpath, Cote d'Azur, France The Western Côte d'Azur has been promised a third Réserve Biologique, a protected wilderness area dedicated to research for conservation. In the  generously built-up French Riviera, such natural spots are gems to hikers and to nature lovers.

Where will this nature reserve be located?

The Estérel's Reserve Biologique will cover 800 hectares of forest and maquis shrubs growing among the jagged red peaks of the Estérel Mountains, around the Cap Roux mountain  north-east from the seaside resort town of Agay.

The site will continue to be open to the public, of course.

What are some of the other reserves biologiques in the Var?

The Maures Moutains and Plains area includes such a reserve (for 2008: 2500 hectares) and so does the Sainte-Baume area (for 2009: 500 hectares).

Where can I hike, bike or just stroll in the future reserve biologique de l'Esterel?

Hike in the Estérel along the wide and comfortable footpath (open to bikers too) that sets out from the Plateau d'Anthéor to Saint-Barthélemy and beyond. This is an easy most flat trail that opens up both mountain and sea views. No water fountains, so come prepared.

This stretch of Estérel trail will soon include botanical panels posted along the footpath from the Plateau d'Anthéor and the Saint-Barthélemy rock. On your walk along this Estérel footpath, learn more about rosemary and lavender as you admire the viewpoints over the Mediterranean Sea and the volcanic peaks of the Estérel. Note: plans are to change these informational panels yearly and to remove them after June 30th when the blooming is done.

Esterel St Barthelemy Footpath, Cote d'Azur, France

Click below to look at our latest hiking guide to the French Riviera: "26 Gorgeous Hikes on the Western Côte d'Azur".

The color guidebook includes hikes in the Estérel (among others), complete with detailed maps, photos and site descriptions.

Available at all of the international sites (US, UK, Germany, France, Japan) and at the following local bookstore: Cannes English Bookshop.

Cannes before the Film Festival 2008

La Folie du Festival

It's not just the Cannes Film Festival 2008 (runs May 14-25, 2008) but the smaller but still large MIPTV event. MIPTV 2008 begins now in Cannes (April 7-11 at Cannes Palais des Festivals) and brings together TV and film producers & distributors, broadcasters and digital media content providers under Cannes palatial atmosphere to discuss ideas and deals.

From this weekend until Fall, Cannes turns into a grand palatial host. Was the city busy this weekend preparing for the upcoming festivals? You bet!  Shop keepers in the Rue d'Antibes and Rue Meynadier still had the time to chat. But you could feel the frenzy of preparations across the Croisette: crews hoisted up giant posters, new terraces, podium with tents; beach restaurants widened their sea front setting.

Watch the below movie for a feel of the preparations...

And if you're looking for a hotel room in Cannes for the Film Festival, consider nearby towns such as Antibes, Juan-les-Pins or even Nice further east. Although cancellations do free up a room here and there, Cannes is pretty well booked up months in advance of the May Film Festival.