Hiking the Côte d'Azur - with spectacular views of the azure Sea

French Riviera Travel Blog

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A dear friend of mine has a place in Juan Les Pins, the heart of the French Riviera.  He has invited me to visit for years and I never took him up on it.  Then one of my travelling buddies picked Cinque Terre for our annual hiking trip and I thought it would be the perfect time to add a visit to JLP. 

The train from Genoa to Nice was only 3 hours and Nice just minutes from JLP.  While there is of course much to see in Nice, JLP, nearby Antibes, Cannes, and Mougin and further away in Monaco, Montecarlo and Menton - this blog will focus on the places we hiked.

Saint Jean Harbor
  There is an abundance of great walking trails - usually en route to some spectacular place - that we took advantage of. 

Our first day in France, after a breakfast of croissants, we decided to hike around Cap d'Antibes, the Smugglers Route.  We left Peter's house and walked a block to the beach and began.  The walk first went through JLP - a few shops, a few restaurants, and then out along the Cap.  Beautiful views, houses scattered up the cliffs here and there, and after a few hours we hit Antibes - where we could refresh ourselves with wine, mussels and a bit of shopping.  A GREAT hike, in our style - flat, views, sustenance (in the form of adorable, beach side restaurants) along the way.  The way we hike, or in this case walk, it was an all day event - and the bus back from Antibes to JLP took just a few minutes.

Antibes

Our second day, we went a bit further and drove to where we could start the hike around Cap Ferrat.  Cap Ferrat is a stunning, luxurious peninsula with a few secluded 5 star hotels like the Grand (I could swear I saw Antonio Banderas drive by - since we were also there during the Cannes Film Festival), Villa Ephrussi - the Rothschild Gardens, and views of nearby Beaulieu Sur Mer and further down the beautiful coast.  The likes of Somerset Maugham and Andrew Lloyd Webber have chosen this gorgeous area to live and it boasts some of the most expensive real estate in the world. 
We walked along roads and on seaside paths with views of huge villas on one side and crashing waves on the other.  Surprising for such an exclusive area, there is an abundance of pedestrian paths that invite the hoi polloi to venture out amidst the elite.

View from Cap Ferrat path
  As we walked around the Cap, we stopped in Saint Jean - a scenic, elegant village - with marina views, restaurants and many places to sit and contemplate the sea.   

A third day we took a train to Eze Bord de Mer and hiked up to the medieval village of Eze along the Friedrich Nietzsche path - a short jaunt straight up (little over an hour) through pine & olive trees.  We spent  a couple of hours touring the village - a charming Provencal village with a view of the stunning coastline, little shops - some seemingly carved out of caves in the cliff, narrow, winding streets, art galleries, a few hotels & restaurants, and a famous botanical garden.  Eze is a quaint must see while touring the coast. 

Our last hike was from the quaint village of Saint Paul up to the equally quaint village of Vence.

View of Beaulieu Sur Mer
  We took a bus from JLP to Saint Paul and toured around the beautiful medieval village - one of the most intact in the region.  You can walk around the ramparts and see the ancient houses, shops, art galleries and the tomb of Marc Chagall.   From Saint Paul to Vence is only 3 miles and takes about 90 minutes.  En route we passed the Chapelle Saint Pierre and Sainte Madeleine oratory.  We entered the town of Vence via a small alley and celebrated our small hike with a beer and visits to a few shops. 

We found hiking & walking throughout the French Riviera to be ideal - views, villages, history, and excellent food & drink.  Pair that with the traditional sightseeing, visits to the Cannes Film Festival, and all the rest the region has to offer, and one could spend a lifetime there - not just a week. 

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Saint Jean Harbor
Saint Jean Harbor
Antibes
Antibes
View from Cap Ferrat path
View from Cap Ferrat path
View of Beaulieu Sur Mer
View of Beaulieu Sur Mer
View from trail to Eze
View from trail to Eze
Eze
Eze
Trail to Vence
Trail to Vence
Nice
Nice
Nice
Nice
Vence market
Vence market
Sunset in Mougins
Sunset in Mougins
French Riviera
photo by: TravellingAuntie