Sunday, July 7, 2013

Cap Martin Trail

As anyone who reads this website knows, I kind of have a thing about the walking (or hiking) trails in the French Riviera.  I find the trails to be a great way to discover the region from a different vantage point and they all have breathtaking scenery.

Although most are on the edges of small towns and cities, they can still be very peaceful and a relaxing way to get some exercise.

I personally call this trail, the Cap Martin Trail, although it’s actual given name is ‘Promenade Le Corbusier’ after the famous architect who lived in the area and who died of a suspected heart attack while swimming at Plage du Buse at Roquebrune Cap Martin.

Unlike the Saint Jean Cap Ferrat trail or even the Eze Nietzsche trail, this walk is by far one of the easiest.  Having said that, still wear proper footwear and bring enough water and refreshments.  If you wanted, there are some wonderful, almost hidden places along the way where you could also enjoy a picnic with friends.

For this trip, I took the train through Monaco to the Carnoles train station in Menton, it is the first station after Roquebrune Cap Martin train stop and before the Menton train station. 

I consider myself a fast walker but on trails I tend to stop to take pictures and in general go at a slower pace to take in the surroundings.

My usual plan for the Promenade Le Corbusier is to walk back to Monte-Carlo and it usually takes me about 1.5–2 hours to walk around the peninsula itself, with about another 35-45 minutes to walk into Monte-Carlo.

It might sound like a long time but once you get going you will be surprised how fast the time goes and almost wish the trail was longer because of how pleasant it all can be.

Once you get off at the Carnoles train station in Menton, exit down to Avenue Francois de Monleon which runs underneath the station and walk towards the sea about a block or two away until you reach the beach and where you will come across the Josephine Baker sculpture.
Turn right and walk along the sea towards the Cap Martin peninsula with the rest of Menton and the coastline of Italy in the background.
During this part of the walk you will pass many apartment buildings, hotels and beach side restaurants with the sparkling blue water and breeze coming off the sea.
Before you know it you will be at the Le Corbusier sculpture, this is the trail mark that means you are now at the beginning of the Promenade Le Corbusier trail, just keep to the left following along the seaside.
You will know immediately that you are at the tip of the Cap Martin peninsula because now you will get an expansive and stunning view of the whole of the Principality of Monaco in the distance.
Along the trail you will be able to catch glimpses of some very expensive, historic and secluded villas hidden amongst the greenery.  Many of these estates run right down to the sea but with the Cap Martin trail being open to the public you will still be able to pass through and get a small look into just how the other half live in one of the most picturesque areas in the French Riviera.
The path will continue to wind its way along the coast with the occasional set of stairs going either up or down but nothing too strenuous and there are benches and other places to stop along the way for a rest.
People also tend to use some of the very short, marked trails off the main path down towards the water to relax and even suntan on the flat areas of the rocks as well.
There is only one section on the path, closer to Roquebrune Cap Martin where the trail forks out, stay closest to the water and cross the train bridge to continue on towards Monte-Carlo otherwise the other trail takes you back up within the Cap Martin community.
Within minutes you will pass Le Corbusier’s famous Le Cabanon and practically next door is Eileen Gray's E.1027 villa that is currently being lovingly restored back to its former glory.
From here, enjoy the beach below in Roquebrune Cap Martin or continue on through towards Monte-Carlo, which also along this trail takes you to the ‘secret’ Gay Nude Beach of Monaco on the edge of Monte-Carlo.
The Cap Martin Trail is an inspirational place for a short day trip, take it all in and enjoy your time.

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