Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Cap de Nice to Villefranche-sur-Mer Hike

Hiking in the French Riviera is a favorite past time of many in the region.

There are a ton of trails throughout all of France but there is something special about the ones here for either the majestic views near historic fortresses or how one can hike along the sea and stop for a swim if you like.

One such trail can take you from Cap de Nice on the edge of the city along the sea to beautiful Villefranche-sur-Mer.

This has to be one of the easiest hikes around but this still means to wear proper footwear, remember to take breaks, especially if you are new to hiking in the summer heat plus bring liquids and other refreshments to keep your energy up. Also don’t forget your mobile just in case of emergency.

You can either start this route in Villefranche-sur-Mer or from Cap de Nice. For this guide the start is in Cap de Nice. As you walk along Boulevard Maeterlinck from Nice above the sea, you will come across the Sentier Littoral sign just before the boulevard turns towards Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Simply take the stairs down to the Pointe des Sans Culottes (Point of No Pants) towards the sea until you are at the Batterie de la Rascasse, which has an outstanding viewpoint towards the sea (for obvious reasons) and was occupied by the German and Italian armies during WWII following the scuttling of the French fleet in the port of Toulon. It was disarmed in 1945 and has not been in use since then but is generally maintained as a symbol of that time.
From here, you can start hiking towards Villefranche-sur-Mer by following the trail from the Batterie de la Rascasse.
Very easy to navigate, you will come upon many areas of stairs but nothing overwhelming as you pass below many extraordinary villas located above you while you move forward and parallel to the Saint Jean Cap Ferrat peninsula.
This is one of those trails that keeps you on the same path towards your destination, so there are no worries about it splintering off into an unknown area.
Here, you can find the place of your choosing for a stop for a picnic at the sea on some rocks or as you get closer to Villefranche-sur-Mer you will come across more swimming locations. Just keep in mind the area is unsupervised so swim at your own risk.
As you approach Villefranche-sur-Mer you will start to see areas where more of the locals both swim and fish, almost like secret spots away from the usual tourist areas.
This is also a great way to discover new parts of Villefranche-sur-Mer. To get back to the Quai/Old Town area, just stay along the sea, follow around the citadel and you’re there.