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Alpes Maritimes

  • 7 Night Route

    Price From: £835
  • 6 Night Route

    Price From: £765
  • 5 Night Route

    Price From: £685

From the Alps to the Mediterranean

Back to Routes
View along the coast to Monaco

View along the coast to Monaco

Above La Brigue

Above La Brigue

View from the cafe at Granile

View from the cafe at Granile

Rocky mountain stream

Rocky mountain stream

Above Sospel

Above Sospel

On the way to Notre Dame des Fontaines

On the way to Notre Dame des Fontaines

Menton

Menton

View from St Agnes

View from St Agnes

Below Granile

Below Granile

Tende circuit

Tende circuit

Price: £835
Nights: 7
Grade:
Walk: 4 - 7 hr/day
Max. party size: 10

Customer Feedback

Julian Ellis

"From our initial enquiry about this holiday to arriving home, we have found everything you have advised, provided, suggested, to be an excellent service." July 2017

more testimonials

Travellers Reviews

We loved most everything about our trip.

The trails were challenging, but doable and gave us a real sense of accomplishment at day's end. Our perfect weather everyday was such a bonus and allowed us to soak up the special essence of this part of the world!

Arthur Hodinott, Gloucester, August 2016

The hiking was amazing.

The routes were well marked and the instructions were great so we could just focus on the beauty of the surroundings. The towns we went through while hiking were a complete surprise and a highlight of the hikes. We loved everything and wish the trip was longer. What we liked least? Having to go back home! This was a FABULOUS vacation and we loved meeting the other hikers!

James Winstanley, Utah, September 2016

Robi was the perfect starting host!

He was so informative and helpful. We felt very secure in the information that we had. We knew that the Local Contact was available if needed- but we also knew that (the On Foot team) were all on the other end of an email if needed. The Sospel booklet is worth an extra mention because it was so brilliant!"

Maria Scott, Melbourne, October 2016

More independent feedback
About the Route

At a glance

Alpes Maritimes 7-night option (6 days walking). The full version of the walk. Add extra nights (we recommend La Brigue and Menton) to ease you in and to celebrate the end.

How much walking?

Full days: 12-17km per day, 4.5-7 hrs walking
Using shortening options: 7-16km per day, 3-6 hrs walking

Max. Grade:

Villages perchés to Belle Epoque Menton

After a spectacular railway journey from Nice, you reach the medieval village of La Brigue offering the chance to walk its fascinating winding alleyways past old town houses. Explore the villages perchés high above the Roya valley and the town of Saorge, which climbs steeply up the valley side. Visit the ancient towns of Breil and Sospel and stay in the astonishing mountain-top village of Ste. Agnès, with views across to the Mediterranean. Finally arrive in Menton itself, Belle Epoque faded splendour now restored to its former glory, and a stroll down the promenade before dining well in one of its restaurants. This route can be walked as a medium-hard walk or, using shortening options, as a medium graded one, and the route is well signed.

Walked by On Foot staff: Simon, Mary and Debbie

Self-guiding introduction by Richard Petitjean (subject to his availability) – accompanying you on your first one or two walking days, or guiding services for whole walking route.

REVIEWS: For independent walker reviews of this route submitted to the Association of Independent Tour Operators visit AITO.com

Route Highlights

  • The “villages perchés” of the Roya valley
  • Dramatic alpine scenery
  • The flora of the Gorge de Bévéra
  • Painted chapels and Renaissance altarpieces
  • Chamois, ibex, moufflons, boars, birds of prey
  • The Belle Epoque charms of Menton
  • Saorge, its winding alleys and underground passages

We Recommend

An extra night at La Brigue (to walk to Tende or to Notre Dame des Fontaines, or in summer to make an expedition to the Vallée des Merveilles), and extra nights in Menton by the sea front, just to relax...

Eating and Drinking

At La Brigue expect Tarte Brigueaise (naturally), fried courgette flowers, bresaola, warm goats’ cheese, Nicoise stew, aioli provencale, cuttlefish (seiche) cooked with onions, celery, tomato puree…. the cuisine on this route is very southern (seiche, garlic, nicoise, provencale), but with a nod to the mountains (stews, mushrooms, goats cheese) and with a pinch of Italy (bresaola, cacciatore).

How much Walking?

Full days: 12-17km per day, 4.5-7 hrs walking
Using shortening options: 7-16km per day, 3-6 hrs walking

Well-marked paths and good signage; some steeper paths on days 2-3. Highest point on route: 1,050m. Some narrow paths with drops may worry the acrophobic.

Medium-hard: Average cumulative uphill stretches (CUSs) 670m (350m-980m) per day.

Medium: CUSs 450m (50m-620m) per day using shortening options where available and doing Sospel town exploration rather than full Sospel Circuit.

GPX file available for handheld GPS or smartphone App for complete route.

Important note: Times given for each day are  walking times for an “average” walker and exclude stops. “CUSs” stands for “Cumulative Uphill Stretches” and measures the aggregated ascents in each day, expressed in metres of climb. See “Walk Grading” for more information.

When to go?

The best months to walk: April, May, September, October

Other possible months: June, July, August

Enjoy the Alpes Maritimes in April and May for the spring flowers and in September and October for the warm seas. You can, however, walk throughout the summer as the mountain air is cooling though, as you near the coast, the temperature rises.

Please note that owing to the Monaco Grand Prix, our hotel in Menton is fully booked between 20th and 28th May 2017 inclusive.

Start Dates

Recommended
Possible
Unavailable

Weather Chart

 

Temperature and rainfall chart for Breil-sur-Roya

Itinerary

About the Route

Day 1 - Arrive in La Brigue

We recommend the railway journey from Nice as a mini-highlight, as much looping inside the mountain as clinging to the side of the valley. Freshen up, wander round the old village and eat well tonight.

OPTION: For those arriving early at La Brigue or spending an extra night we have two suggestions. Either try the Tende Circuit: Over the hill to the old town to get lost in its maze of medieval alleys (4¼ hrs, 10¾ km, CUSs 540m) or a shorter walk to Notre Dame des Fontaines - a 3-hour stroll (9 km, CUSs 400m) to a splendid chapel with well-restored frescoes.

Day 2 - La Brigue to Fontan

A steepish walk through woodland to the hamlet of Granile (a good stop for a picnic). An afternoon through magical leafy glades far above the Roya to the villages perchés of Berghe, before returning down to the Roya at Fontan and then catching an early evening train back to La Brigue. From May to September, it’s possible to spend the night in a gite just outside the village of Saorge – a great option for those wanting to avoid transfers. (Medium-hard: 6 hrs, 16 km, CUSs 620m – plus a visit to Saorge if you are staying there or are missing out tomorrow’s walk below for any reason.)

Day 3 - Fontan to Breil

For those staying in La Brigue, take a train back to Fontan Gare and, from the station, wind up the old corniche to unforgettable Saorge, where you may be tempted to stay for an early lunch before a choice of two quite tough walks to the old town of Breil. (Shorter option – medium : 3 hrs, 7 km, CUSs 450m, longer option via GR52a – medium-hard : 6 hrs, 12 km, CUSs 980m)

Day 4 - Breil to Sospel

Up onto the valley sides again to the hilltop village of Piène Haute for lunch, then the Sentier Botanique of the Gorge de Bévéra before arriving at the medieval town of Sospel. (Medium: 4½ hrs, 14 km, CUSs 500m).

Day 5 - Sospel

A chance to explore the little town of Sospel in more depth with the aid of an excellent guide book (included), or try our highly-recommended 19km circular walk high up in the hills with some stunning views towards the Italian border. If you fancy something a little shorter, then take our morning or afternoon walk to Mount Agaisen and its fortifications forming part of the Maginot line. (Medium-hard: 7 hrs, 17 km, CUSs 800m. Shorter option medium: 2½ hours) 

Day 6 - Sospel to Ste. Agnès

Through the Mediterranean woodlands to the Col de Castillon for a picnic, then along forest tracks to a final thrilling approach up a cobbled path to Ste. Agnès, high above the Mediterranean. (Medium-hard: 5½ hrs, 13 km, CUSs 750m). Alternative – taxi ride plus 2½ hrs (easy).

Day 7 - Ste. Agnès to Roquebrune (and Menton)

Your final walking day along the mountainside to the beautiful vieux village of Roquebrune where we recommend a celebratory lunch in one of the village restaurants, overlooking the Mediterranean, and a train to Menton or (if you’re still in walking mood) a stroll along the seaside path of Cap Martin, the full promenade of Menton, and your comfortable hotel. (Medium: 3½ hrs, 11 km to Roquebrune Gare. 5 hrs, 15¾ km to Menton, CUSs 350m). Other shorter opions.

Final day

Depart for home – or maybe spend an extra night in this lovely old resort?

Travel Information

ARRIVING BY AIR

The best “local” airport is Nice. Intercontinental flights use Paris – overnight stays advisable. Then either TGV train or domestic flight onwards to Nice.

Land by: Nice 15:00 for public transport connections to La Brigue (c. 3½ hrs) – later arrivals possible with train/short taxi (~€40) OR stay a night in Nice if arriving late (see Where you’ll stay and Prices)

Return flight earliest: 11:00 for airport bus service from Menton (c.1 hr)

Flight information can change rapidly and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner (see below) before finalising any booking with us. Do not book your flights until we have confirmed that we have provisionally reserved accommodation for you.

For up-to-date schedules and flights from all airports check Skyscanner.

See “Getting to start” below for transfer information.

ARRIVING BY TRAIN

Nearest railway station:

Start: La Brigue
Finish: Menton

Typical rail journey: via Paris from London: Eurostar to Paris (N), transfer by RER to Gare de Lyon, then TGV to Nice and local train from there to La Brigue. ~10 hrs excluding crossing Paris.

via Lille from London (avoiding crossing Paris): Eurostar to Lille, transfer to TGV direct to Nice. Then onto a local train from Nice to La Brigue if you arrive before 19.30, or stay at our hotel in Nice ~10.5 hrs

Menton to London via Paris: TGV to Paris Gare de Lyon, change to Paris N for Eurostar to London St Pancras International. ~ 11hrs.

Look at www.seat61.com/France for times and other information on the stretch from London to Nice/Menton to London; visit www.bahn.de for local trains from Nice to La Brigue, or if your French is up to it, www.ter-sncf.com (you need the Rhone Alpes department and ‘Fiches/horaires’ after that, choosing ’05 Nice-Breil’).

 

Getting to the start of the walk

The first hotel is in the village of La Brigue, and the last on the coast in Menton. Transfer times and methods are suggested for Nice airport below. For train arrival transfers see below.

NICE AIRPORT:

Outward: Bus then train: 3½ hrs. Allow 2 hrs from touchdown at Nice airport to train departure time from Nice-Ville. Flight arrivals after 13:00 will require train to Breil then taxi (~€40). For train times (Nice-Ville to La Brigue) on your day of arrival check the website: www.ter-sncf.com OR stay a night at the beginning in Nice for a more relaxed start (see Where you’ll stay and Prices).
Return: Airport bus from outside hotel 1-1½ hrs OR taxi the whole way from Menton hotel to Nice airport: 40 mins

Transfers from train stations:
Outward: La Brigue. (Short walk or lift to first hotel)
Return: Menton. (20 mins walk or short taxi ride from last hotel to station)

Full transfer advice, including timetables, is provided in your Walkers’ Pack. Contact us if you would like additional pre-booking information.

Where You'll Stay

Starting in La Brigue, you’ll stay in a welcoming, family-run hotel right on the village square – and the food receives consistently good reviews too. Our pension in Breil has recently been refurbished and the hotel in Sospel is renowned for its wonderful restaurant, friendly hosts and good rooms. In Ste Agnès, you’ll stay in rooms dotted throughout the village (the St Yves restaurant for dinner that night is good) and, finally, to your beachfront hotel in Menton which receives great feedback from our clients who enjoy a special treat at the end of their holiday.

For late arrivals a night in Nice may be necessary at the start – see the bottom of this page.

La Brigue – La Fleur des Alpes (Dinner, B&B)

Night 1 & 2

La Brigue – La Fleur des Alpes (Dinner, B&B)

Little family-run hotel overlooking the square.

Breil – Le Roya (B&B)

Night 3

Breil – Le Roya (B&B)

Basic rooms above a bustling village café.

Sospel – Hotel des Etrangers: (B&B)

Night 4 & 5

Sospel – Hotel des Etrangers: (B&B)

Old fashioned family run hotel in centre of town. Good restaurant (but closed Tuesday and Wednesday).

Ste Agnès – Le Saint Yves: (B&B)

Night 6

Ste Agnès – Le Saint Yves: (B&B)

Simple (and small) rooms, bustling restaurant and great views from the terrace.

Menton – Hotel Princess et Richmond: (B&B)

Night 7

Menton – Hotel Princess et Richmond: (B&B)

Right on the promenade overlooking the sea, a family-run hotel of quality in the best position in town.

Nice – Hotel Durante:

AM-A-Hotel-Durante-MainWalkers transferring via Nice may need a night there if the flight or train times don’t work with the local trains.  We can book you a night in the Hotel Durante, a simple hotel near the station for convenience.  Feedback has been of the “fine – good value” variety

Prices

Price: £835 for 7 nights

Total 7 nights in double/twin room, all breakfasts, luggage transfers, 4 picnics and 2 evening meals.

All prices are per person unless otherwise indicated (e.g. for taxis), and may vary with exchange rate fluctuations – check with On Foot for your guaranteed price.

Savings and supplements

Single Room Supplement: From £210

Lone Traveller Additional Supplement: From £115

Larger party saving (on identical itinerary) – £60 off per person (except first two)

 

Add Ons

Extra nights possible throughout the route: Contact On Foot for ideas and prices

Further night B&B at end of holiday in Menton: Prices vary with season and room type. Contact us

Nights in Nice: Contact On Foot Holidays

Guiding by Richard Petitjean (priced per group): Price on application

Arrange locally – Local train/bus/taxi as required

Customer Feedback

Julian Ellis

"From our initial enquiry about this holiday to arriving home, we have found everything you have advised, provided, suggested, to be an excellent service." July 2017

more testimonials

Travellers Reviews

We loved most everything about our trip.

The trails were challenging, but doable and gave us a real sense of accomplishment at day's end. Our perfect weather everyday was such a bonus and allowed us to soak up the special essence of this part of the world!

Arthur Hodinott, Gloucester, August 2016

The hiking was amazing.

The routes were well marked and the instructions were great so we could just focus on the beauty of the surroundings. The towns we went through while hiking were a complete surprise and a highlight of the hikes. We loved everything and wish the trip was longer. What we liked least? Having to go back home! This was a FABULOUS vacation and we loved meeting the other hikers!

James Winstanley, Utah, September 2016

Robi was the perfect starting host!

He was so informative and helpful. We felt very secure in the information that we had. We knew that the Local Contact was available if needed- but we also knew that (the On Foot team) were all on the other end of an email if needed. The Sospel booklet is worth an extra mention because it was so brilliant!"

Maria Scott, Melbourne, October 2016

More independent feedback
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Richard Petitjean

Route designed by:

Richard Petitjean

Richard came to the Côte d’Azur to study tourism and has lived here for 30 years working as a licensed Tour Guide. Since 60% of the French flora is represented in this area, Richard’s keen interest in botany is put to the best possible use.

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