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Hiking by Roquebrune-sur-Argens: Palayson


If you're staying on the western side of the French Riviera, anywhere near Le Muy, Frejus, Roquebrune-sur-Argens, La Motte or in that general area, here's a nice hike on mostly flat open terrain.  

Why do I like this hike? Because it's close to Frejus, yet it's out in the forest of the Colle du Rouet where a few beautiful parasol pines, oak trees and bushes of mimosas flourish. Parts of the forest burned last year (see our article about it below), but this particular hike avoids the burned areas. Along most of the trail, you're surrounded by "Le Roc" or the Rocher de Roquebrune to the south and by the reddish brown volcanic hilsl of the Rouet to the north.

The Hike:

The full loop is 8 km long. The hike takes about 3 hours, going at a slow pace.

As with many footpaths in the region, this one is poorly indicated. Plan a little extra time in case you get lost and carry a cell phone... here's how to follow the route: 

  • Begin on the G78 Piste de Palayson after the ONF forest ranger station and before & to the left of the Maison Forestiere de Palayson.
  • Stay on this wide G78 footpath and leave on your right a series of branching footpathes: G89, G88, G87 Les Flacs Sud, G86 Les Facs, G85 Les Flacs Nord.
  • Turn right onto the G90 Le Catchéou footpath.


  • At the end of the vineyard, take the path on the right, opposite the one way sign.
  • You'll cross a small river twice (river may be dry in summer), once with stepping stones and once with a jump (again, depends on weather).
  • You'll hike with the Rouet hills to your back and continue along heading south on the Piste du Trou de la Jarre. Unfortunately, I found no sign here to indicate the name...
  • You'll leave the G85 Les Flacs Nord, G86, G87 etc... to your right and continue straight on a path parallel to the one you took the other direction.
  • You see the G88 La Borne path, and again leave it to your right to continue straight ahead.
  • At the T intersection where the Trou de La Jarre path stops, go right and then left on the main G78 Piste de Palayson that began this journey. You're back at your car.

View Trou de la Jarre Hike in a larger map


The Terrain:

The hiking terrain is flat the first half the way, with a short rocky downhill on the loop back. Not as rocky as in the Esterel Mountains, mostly wide sandy footpaths that you could also easily bike with an all-terrain bike. As with all of our hikes, you need hiking shoes or at least supportive walking or sports shoes.

Getting there:

The trick is not to miss the entrance to this "Forêt Domaniale de la Colle du Rouët" after Puget-sur-Argens when you're coming from Fréjus, on the other side of the A8 from Roquebrune-sur-Argens. The entrance is immediately after the discrete A8 overpass after the round-about that heads to Roquebrune-sur-Argens.

See the below Google map to pin point it.

View Forêt de Palayson in a larger map

Antique Hunting at Chateau de Berne

Chateau On Sunday, March 14 2010, the Château de Berne in Lorgues opens its vast gorgeus and estate doors to professional antiques dealers for a brocante.

This antiques fair is organized by the association "il était autrefois", who has recently hosted a much appreciated fair for heirloom treasure linens (bed linens, boutis, drapes, tablecloths, hand embroided napkins)

Should be fun for the setting & landscape alone. And you never know what jewel you might discover.

 10AM to 6PM at Chateau de Berne, Lorgues, Var, France. Telephone: 04 94 60 43 53. Entrance is FREE.

Simply Strapped in St Tropez

If you think of St Tropez as pompous, take a peek into master shoe craftsman Alain Rondini's shop on rue Clémenceau. The little shop is full of pumps (sandals actually), but it's anything but pompous.

The front of its 60 square meters serves as a friendly and unassuming sales center, with traditional Tropézienne sandals arranged in the small window display, set on a wooden shelf to the side and hung on the all. The back of the shop serves as a crafting room, with seven shoemakers working the leather into some thirty colorful models.
"We make our leather sandals by hand here in St Tropez, with lots of attention to quality," says Alain, grand on of Dominique Rondini who first opened the shop in 1927. When Alain's father, Serge Rondini later took over the shop from Dominique, he introduced new designs, but remained faithful to the credo of hand-made quality and care. Alain follows in the family's heart-felt tradition.
"We don't have any distributors", explains Alain. "Our clients purchase their sandals here in our shop. We do ship them around the world, but to customers. We want to stay this way: a local St Tropez producer in touch with our customers."
Despite its unpretentious ways, the Atelier Rondini has fitted a good number of famous feet: those of author Colette, an early-adopter of the Tropézienne sandals, Marlene Dietrich, and more recently Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and Kate Moss who enjoys a pair of brown-strapped spartan-styled Tropéziennes.
Another St Tropez success story that's non-pompous and inscribed in tradition...
Atelier Rondini
16 Rue Georges Clémenceau
83990 Saint Tropez
04 94 97 19 55