Along the French Riviera, the Sentier du Littoral or coastal path winds its way up, down and along creeks, cliffs, sandy beaches, pebbled beaches, Riviera town promenade, villas painted in peachy pastels, even a national park (in Port-Cros - check it out here).
We've written about it almost as much as we've hiked it. If you are in reasonable walking shape, we highly recommend you fit a walk along the Sentier du Littoral on your trip to the Côte d'Azur. This site is full of hiking tips and pics. We also recommend the English-language hiking guide, 26 Gorgeous Hikes on the Western Côte d'Azur.
Until now, if you longed to walk from the Cap de Nice to Villefranche-sur-Mer, the Sentier du Littoral would take you only half way there.
The Sentier du Littoral is gaining new ground. This week, a new section of coastal path opened, completing the connection between the the Pointe des Sans Culottes under the Mont Boron in Cap de Nice, along the Pointe de la Rascasse, Pointe Madame all the way to le Lazaret by the port in Villefranche-sur-Mer.
If you're expecting an easy flat stroll between Cap de Nice and Lazaret in Villefranche, think again. Steps were added along this section, making the new 1.5 km connection a pleasant session of aerobic exercise. Of course, you can stop anywhere along the way and catch your breath and soak in the cliff-side views of the sea.
Where to begin?
For the Cap de Nice to Villefranche hike, begin at the end of Maeterlinck Blvd, east of the Port Lympia of Nice. Parking is sparse here. Reach it by bus (Nice-Menton Ligne 100, or Nice-Villefranche) and hop off at the "Hopital Anglais" stop. See Google map below.
More Riviera Sentier du Littoral?
Plans are in the works to connect the Maëterlink to the Pointe des Sans-Culottes with a safe hiking path by 2011, likely through steps up to the Basse Corniche road.
The dream is to connect the towns of Théoule-sur-Mer in the Var all the way to Menton. There's enough determination among key proponents and the Alpes-Maritimes administration to make it happen. The question is when. Until then, we have plenty of smaller stretches of coastal hiking paths to enjoy...
View AzurAlive.com: Cap de Nice Sentier du Littoral in a larger map