It's always a thrill to hear back from our readers about their trip to the French Côte d'Azur.
In May 2008, Cameron and Richard set out to explore the French Riviera the way we like to do it: on foot across great hiking trails.
They came prepared. They had sorted through web sites, travel forums and hiking guidebooks (including our own guidebook to great hikes on the French Riviera). Their goal? To discover and explore the gems of the Côte d'Azur, those hiking trails that leave visitors in awe, those spots that linger in memory for a long time. We chatted with them online about our favorite walks in the Côte d'Azur.
All this preparation payed off. They had a fantastic time on the French Riviera, walking the most scenic parts of the coastal path and some of the back-country too.
We thought you could use their first-hand account of their visit to this corner of South Eastern France. What did they like best? What do they recommend? Here's what they said:AzurAlive: What was your favorite hike on the Côte d'Azur?
C & R: The Saint Tropez Peninsula. The terrain was varied and the hike long enough to be very interesting. A return trip is
definitely in our future! We want to hike the entire trail. On our
next visit, we want to stay on the peninsula for a week so that we can
hike on several different days. In addition to the hiking, we feel that
the area is worth a longer visit. Our rental was in Mougins, so the
round-trip drive was too long for us to be able to hike more than one
AzurAlive: Anything about the area & hikes that surprised you?
C & R: Words can't describe the beauty of the region! Every step on the coastal trails presented us with gorgeous views.
We were surprised by the outgoing, friendly treatment that we
received everywhere we went. This included restaurant staff
and especially hikers that we passed on the trails. There seemed to
always be a pleasant "bonjour" from other hikers. The hikers were all
very courteous on the narrow trails. It is apparent that the French
hikers cherish and enjoy the trails.
We never knew of the many hiking possibilities available in the
region. It is obvious to us that the sentier littoral are very
important trails and worthy of preservation. We considered ourselves
fortunate to be able to see the region by traversing these nicely
maintained trails. Additionally, we felt as though we experienced
France by participating in an outdoor activity that put us close to the
culture, people and geography. We intend to return to the Cote d'Azur
to explore more coastal hikes. We want to finish hiking the St Tropez
AzurAlive: Any tips for visitors interested in the full St Tropez hike?
C & R: Knowing enough French to be able to have pleasant exchanges with the locals will make for a more enriching experience!
The Tourist Information Office in St Tropez is very helpful. Stop
by to pickup additional information on the area, maps, restaurants, bus
If driving from another village, consider the time involved in
the round-trip drive as well as the hike. In hindsight, we wish we had
arranged to stay in St Tropez for several nights. We arrived early
enough in the morning to get into paid parking at the harbor. Based
upon our experience, I would try to hike on Monday through Thursday to
lessen the chance of traffic problems. We hiked on a Thursday and tried
to go back on Friday, but the traffic was far too slow to have time to
Be ready to start the hike in St Tropez no later than 8:30am for
the first segment. An earlier departure time is most likely preferable
for the longer segments.
Take a minimum of a large bottle of water per person. Even with cool temperatures, the air was dry and the sun was bright. Pack snacks and lunch. We each packed a sandwich cru as well as a package of nuts for protein. Wear sturdy shoes for foot stability across the varied terrain.
The most difficult walking was actually through the deep sand on the
beaches. We preferred to wear lightweight hiking pants rather than hiking shorts. Wear sunscreen and a hat if it's a sunny day.
Although we didn't need our jackets that day, we packed very lightweight rain jackets in our day pack.
Check on the availability of bus service (or other
transportation) back to Saint Tropez at the end of your hike. Plan
ahead to save enough time and energy to walk back to Saint Tropez. We
walked back to St Tropez after hiking the segment to Plage des Salins.