FRANCE’S COTE D’ AZUR WALK
Remarkable beauty, clear blue waters and a wonderful climate have earned the French Riviera, or “azure coast,” an unrivaled position among the world’s fashionable holiday playgrounds. It was here the Romans built spas and villas designed to catch the sea breezes. But the Cote d’Azur really came into prominence in the 19th century when English aristocrats arrived. It was on the Cote d’Azur that Coco Chanel invented sunbathing.
The most venerable and southerly of the Cote d’Azur resorts is also one of the most dignified and traditional. This is Hyeres. Hyeres is your arrival point and your first day will be spent exploring the historical center of this lovely city. Hyeres was a favorite resort for Queen Victoria and many writers and intellectuals of the 19th century. From Hyeres, you will transfer to the Giens peninsula and then onto the Golden Islands.
Much of your adventure will be seeing the Cote d’Azur that few visitors see: The Iles d’Hyeres, which are also called The Golden Islands. These three exotically beautiful islands have been preserved from the development that most of the area experienced. Cars are restricted and these former haunts of pirates are now wildlife and bird sanctuaries.
You will spend a delightful day exploring the island of Port Cros. Watered with artesian wells and springs, the island of Port Cros is rich in plant and animal life and has been a national park since 1963. Offshore from the island is a marine natural reserve where a fantastic range of sea creatures thrive in the protected waters. There is even an underwater trail so that divers can explore this unusual sanctuary.
At the end of the week, you will be staying in Bormes les Mimosas, one of the prettiest villages of Provence, situated at the bottom of the Mantes hills and which offers all the charms of medieval villages of the 12th century.
Most of the walks are about five hours in length.
You will be welcomed in Hyeres train station at 2 o’clock. Visit of the historical center. Transfer to Giens peninsula, and to the hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel on the peninsula.
You will be hiking on a loop along the coast of the peninsula, through Niel port, Escampobariou point, Madrague port, Tour Fondue Port, Cap de I’Esterel, and the beach of La Beaume. Dinner and overnight at the hotel. (5 hour walk).
Boat transfer to Paquerottes Island. You will go around the Island by la Plage d’Argent (Silver Beach), Langoustier fort, and Mount Tialo. Superb coastal footpaths will then take you to la Point de la Galere (galley point) and you will make your way back through le Cap des Medes et Notre-Dame beach. Your return is on a boat to Le Lavandou. Dinner and night in a hotel in Le Lavandou.
Boarding at Port de Hyeres to go to Pot Cro island. You will spend the day hiking on this delightful island, a national park since 1963, genuine ecological paradise and animal sanctuary. Return by boat to Le Lavandou. Dinner at an inn and overnight at the hotel. (5 hours walk)
Visit of Bormes, one of the prettiest village of the Riviera. A dreamlike Provencal village with a staircase maze, flowery gardens, arched pathways, and alleys. You will take small hikes in the hills and the dominical forest of les Mantes, going through Notre Dame de Constance, le Col de Gratteloup and le Col de London. (5 hours walk).
From Port de Bormes, you will follow the littoral pathway to Cap Benat before going up to the top of Requinquill where you will enjoy a superb sight of the Golden Island and the Fort de Brejan on. (5 hours walk).
Breakfast and departure from the Lavandou bus station around 9:00 AM.