The Wild West of the French Riviera

15456218707_c8be41dd58_q

Théoule-sur-Mer may lack the glamour and urban flair of some of its coastal neighbours in the East, but has a nice little walk attached to it Looking back over the Easy Hiker posts from the last six months or so, it strikes me how few of them refer to anything that we have done on our home turf.

On the one hand, this is good, I suppose, because it shows how busy we were making all those wonderful sponsored trips to places such as Greece, Malta and the Alps (full disclosure: travel bloggers actually quite like sponsored trips), but on the other hand, it is also a bit of a pity because there is still so much left for us to explore in our own backyard.

Take the western half of the French Riviera, for example: we have, until now, never gone

Continue reading The Wild West of the French Riviera

Between Nice Old Town and the Deep Blue Sea

thumb mont boron

A French Riviera Walk on Mont Boron For people who live in and around Nice, Mont Boron is the most readily accessible piece of “real nature” just in front of their doorstep. It is convenient to reach on foot and/or on public transport, yet sufficiently forest-like to pass for the real thing.

For visitors, Mont Boron is a big chunk of rock, visible from nearly anywhere downtown, particularly if you go a little higher up. It feels temptingly close and yet a little too far away for the kind of visit that you could conveniently squeeze into a day trip itinerary, fascinatingly perched between the town’s suburban outskirts and what passes for “real wilderness” around here. Its lure is quite strong, in one word, and sooner or later, as a repeat visitor, you will want to go.

From up close, however, Mont

Continue reading Between Nice Old Town and the Deep Blue Sea

The Final Act for the Irish Bard

thumbsyeats

Walks in the French Riviera: Walk to the villa on the French Riviera where W B Yeats died. In general, I don’t believe in the theory that you can acquire an understanding of literature through a process of natural osmosis in the places where it was once written – in other words that you can replace, for example, the effects of reading or watching Shakespeare’s plays by bumping your head on low-hanging Elizabethan doorways.

Having said that, visiting places where famous writers spent significant periods of their lives often produces benefits of the unexpected kind.

At the very least, it makes you explore areas that you would not otherwise have visited. This can indeed give you a better feel for the object of your visit – the work of the writer, perhaps, but certainly the town or the country where he has

Continue reading The Final Act for the Irish Bard

Combining Coastal Charms and the “Lure of the (Semi-)Wild”

thumb beaulieu sur mer

French Riviera Hikes: A walk through the hinterland of Beaulieu-sur-Mer for visitors in a hurry Today’s walk completes our short series of excursions to Beaulieu-sur-mer, the small town to the east of Nice on the French Riviera which is genteel, effortlessly elegant and everything else that Monaco so feverishly wants to be.

The trail summarizes the best of the Little Africa walk and the Saint Michel mountain hike of our last two posts and is therefore ideal for people who do not have the time for both, or, perhaps more to the point, the stamina to tackle the Beaulieu-to-Eze walk – which can, to be honest, be a trifle demanding in places.

This one is far shorter (with roughly 2 hours) and far easier than the other French Riviera hikes we’ve done, although also less dramatic and, for much of the way, more suburban than “wild”.

Continue reading Combining Coastal Charms and the “Lure of the (Semi-)Wild”

How Little Africa in the Riviera Got Its Name

thumb Petite Afrique

Hiking in the French Riviera: A walk through one of the lushest and poshest bits of the French Riviera One of the things I have been wondering about ever since we started to come regularly to the Riviera is: where did the Petit Afrique area in Beaulieu-sur-Mer get its name from? On one of our recent hikes, we had the opportunity to find out.

Actually, the area itself – located on the lower slopes of the Saint Michel mountain and stretching perhaps 1 km uphill behind Beaulieu beach – does not give away too much, so this was something I had to research after we had returned home from our walk.

And frankly, it was a bit of a disappointment. I had optimistically expected something like a “just-so story”, involving ideally a fierce tribe of cannibals, a curse or some other element

Continue reading How Little Africa in the Riviera Got Its Name