The Most Storied Backcountry Village of the French Riviera

P7202422-01-01

Last week, I told you about the bus company Zest and its daily tours from Menton into the arrière pays, the French Riviera’s mountainous back country. Of these altogether ten different day trips, most are going to places that also are, in principle, available on Zest’s ordinary lines.

The problem is that the schedules of these “ordinary lines” (that often run no more than twice day) are mainly arranged

The Most Storied Backcountry Village of the French Riviera

Go Hiking on the French Riviera and its Back Country

thumb2

When you want to go hiking on the French Riviera, there are good reasons for preferring either the coast or the back country, the mountainous arrière pays

One possible reason for going one way or the other is undoubtedly the right psychological “match” between hiker and route.

The coast at its best is friendly and open, but can also be loud, brash and more than a little vulgar. The

Go Hiking on the French Riviera and its Back Country

How to Spend the Hours Before Your Flight from Nice

P5210670-01-01

Why would you want to go into a public park on the French Riviera when nature in its untamed variety – more coastal walks and mountain hikes than you could possibly pack into a long holiday – is only ever a bus ride away?

On most days, admittedly, any argument in favour of a trip to the public park will indeed seem a trifle weak, but there are also circumstances under which it

How to Spend the Hours Before Your Flight from Nice

Do You Agree that Grasse is for Inhaling?

thumb2

Grasse, as Joe Namath very nearly said, is not for visiting, it’s for smoking. And you’d be surprised how many locals share this opinion, at least the first half of it: that your time would be better spent going somewhere else (not to put too fine a point on it.)

Nice-Matin, our local rag, recently dedicated a photo spread to the refutation of this very idea that Grasse is ugly, that there is

Do You Agree that Grasse is for Inhaling?

Sniff Your Way to the Garden of Scents

thumb2

What Made Grasse Famous Has Made a Smell-O-Rama Convert Out Of Me Few people have ever regretted that Hollywood failed to further evolve its 1950s format of Smell-O-Rama which allowed the movie houses to pipe in scents for the purpose of highlighting the cinematic narrative.

Full disclosure: I have always been one of those Smell-O-Rama skeptics – until last weekend, that is, when we visited the garden of scents, the Musée Internationale de

Sniff Your Way to the Garden of Scents

So You Want Off the Beaten Path But Charming

thumb2

Villeneuve-Loubet is an attractive and charming little village, perhaps not the most spectacularly beautiful in the French Riviera region but one of the most alluring. This may have to do with the fact that it is located a little off the beaten track and has therefore been allowed to preserve its Provencal character more than most.

It is a place where the barber and the baker stop each other

So You Want Off the Beaten Path But Charming

In Search of the Hidden Gardens of Monaco

thumb

Oman, Qatar and San Marino are, officially, the least green countries in the world. In these three states – and in the territory of Greenland (clearly a case for the Trades Descriptions Act) – forests make up exactly 0.0 % of the surface area: none of them have any woodlands at all. But what about Monaco?

We go to Monaco fairly regularly, and if there are any forests over

In Search of the Hidden Gardens of Monaco

A Sporty Hike on the Hilltop Backcountry of the French Riviera

thumb

Once they were giants – Breil and the Roya River From the train, Breil-sur-Roya looks incongruously large and imposing, with its tree lined riverside avenue and two large churches in the centre of town.

Located in that part of the border country between France and Italy that is characterized by perched hilltop villages and their nervous huddles of buildings, Breil comes across not only as much bigger but also as much bolder, saying

A Sporty Hike on the Hilltop Backcountry of the French Riviera

Hope to Scrape the Riviera Clouds Hiking Up Castellar

P2084371-01-01

Castellar is a vaguely picturesque medieval village just to the north of Menton on the French Riviera, and on its own (we might as well be honest about this), it is not worth the trip. Castellar’s 972 inhabitants may hate me for saying this, but such are the risks of boldly speaking truth to power. Still, there are generally quite a few visitors around, even at this time of year. So what attracts all these

Hope to Scrape the Riviera Clouds Hiking Up Castellar

A Great Escape Around Vibrant Villefranche Harbour

P9272538-01-01

Over the years, this blog has featured many different kinds of walks for different occasions: exhausting hikes as well as gentle strolls, explorations of the wild and urban walks with a cultural theme, walks for summer and walks for winter, walks that you can spread over several days and walks that you can squeeze in between a boozy lunch and your afternoon tea. Today’s walk falls into yet another type of category: an escape walk.

A Great Escape Around Vibrant Villefranche Harbour