Select Your Country:
View Shortlist
Office now closed
Opening Times

Office hours: Mon - Fri 09:00 - 17:30; Sat 09:30 - 13:00

Office hours: Mon - Fri 09:00 - 17:30; Sat 09:30 - 13:00

Office hours: East Coast USA: Mon - Fri 09:00 - 17:30 (04:00 - 12:30 local time); Sat 09:30 - 13:00 (04:30 - 08:00)

West Coast USA: Mon - Fri 09:00 -17:30 (01:00 - 09:30 local time); Sat 09:30 - 13:00 (01:30 - 05:00)

Office hours: Ottawa: Mon - Fri 09:00 - 17:30 (04:00 - 12:30 local time); Sat 09:30 - 13:00 (04:30 - 08:00)

Vancouver: Mon - Fri 09:00 - 17:30 (01:00 - 09:30 local time); Sat 09:30 - 13:00 (01:30 - 05:00)

Office hours: Canberra: Mon - Fri 09:00 - 17:30 (20:00 - 04:30 local time); Sat 09:30 - 13:00 (20:30 - 24:00)

Office hours: Mon - Fri 09:00 - 17:30 (22:00 - 06:30 local time); Sat 09:30 - 13:00 (22:30 - 02:00)

Office hours: Mon - Fri 09:00 - 17:30 (check internet for local time equivalent); Sat 09:30 - 13:00

Alpes Maritimes

  • 7 Night Route

    Price: from £1135
  • 6 Night Route

    Price: from £1055
  • 5 Night Route

    Price: from £965

From the Alps to the Mediterranean

Back to Routes
Above La Brigue

Above La Brigue

On the way to Notre Dame des Fontaines

On the way to Notre Dame des Fontaines

Looking down to Tende

Looking down to Tende

Tende circuit

Tende circuit

Below Granile

Below Granile

Fabulous mountain views

Fabulous mountain views

Bergue Supérieur

Bergue Supérieur

Refreshing mountain water

Refreshing mountain water

View from St Agnes

View from St Agnes

Menton

Menton

  • 7 Night Route

    Price: from £1135
  • 6 Night Route

    Price: from £1055
  • 5 Night Route

    Price: from £965
Price: from £1135
Nights: 7
Grade:
Walk: 4 - 7 hr/day

The scenery was stunning, and we saw barely any other people on the walk, which added to the peace and serenity. The accommodation is always interesting and adds to the experience. The office team is always extremely helpful and a joy to interact with.

Andrew McCracken, London, UK - September 2023

Richard gave us some really good advice about our walking plan and we can't rate him highly enough. He was friendly and courteous and proactively sorted out a minor glitch with our onward luggage transfer from La Brigue (as did the office team).

Andrew Homan, Winchester, UK - September 2023

We loved the walking which was varied and interesting. It was quiet and felt like we had the mountains to ourselves. We loved Sospel and did the self guided walk around the town before having a meal by the river at one of the recommended restaurants.

Paula Carter, London, UK - September 2023

Loved the peace and quiet of the countryside, being away from tourist areas it felt like we were experiencing the real France. It was great to finish on the coast and be able to relax there after some quite challenging walking. Given all the parameters - distances between places, hotels available, frequency of public transport, it is not easy to see how it could be improved.

Judith King, London, UK - September 2023

Great route. Loved the walking, the views and the variety. For us, it was just the right length. If we'd had a couple more days, we might have had a couple of 'days off' in the middle to explore locally, but we enjoyed the rhythm of moving on each day too.

Kathy Gemmell, Brighton, UK - June 2023

Chapelle St Gervais in Sospel - what an awesome place to stay. Pascale was fantastic, our room fantastic, the food too. Loved this place.

Tracey Richards, Victoria, Australia - June 2023

I really appreciated the detailed information packet so I knew what to expect and the personalized service in planning the trip itself. I did not feel like it was an off-the-shelf product, but rather, a customized trip that was perfect for me.

Susan Olson, Sebastopol, USA - September 2022

Loved the remoteness of the walking and independence the self-guided nature gave us. Very well supported by maps and guides. There were 'hard' stretches, but this was noted in advance.

Alan Huse, Hampton, Australia - July 2022

A fascinating and exciting journey from the foothills of the Alpes to the coast. Lovely wildflowers on the woodland walks.

Great contrasts - we enjoyed seeing sheep being herded up the steep mountainside at La Brigue and seeing the small productive veg gardens.

Bettina Reeves, Abergavenny, Wales - April 2022

It was a lovely holiday - great hospitality and food, lovely scenery, great weather and easy to follow walks.

Diana Palmer, Abergavenny, Wales - April 2022

Wonderful scenery and villages...

... and a railway that is one of the wonders of Europe, and exceptionally kind and friendly people.

Michael and Janet Lockett, Diss, UK - September 2019

Everything was wonderful and we had a fantastic time!!

The wildflowers were in bloom everywhere and were one of the highlights of each walk. I particularly loved the hike from Breil to Sospel with the varying terrains, olive groves, transition from Alpine to Mediterranean terrain and flora, and the river near the end. We also loved exploring the wonderful ancient perched villages.

Joseph Kravitz, Pittsfield, USA - June 2019

More independent feedback
Self-guided walking holiday in the Alpes Maritimes with On Foot Holidays

At a glance

Alpes Maritimes 7-night option (6 days walking). The standard version of the walk. Add extra nights in Menton to celebrate the end. See 'Prices' tab for what's included.
Suggested route pairing: Ligurian Hills

How much walking?

Full days: 12-21km per day, 4-7 hrs walking
Using shortening options: 9-14km per day, 3-5 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 admire the views across the Mediterranean from the astonishing mountain-top village of Ste. Agnès. 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, Patrick, Debbie, Ellen and Harriet

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.

Consider pairing this route with Ligurian Hills (4 hrs transfer by train) – for more details click here.

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

TRAVEL ADVICE: To find the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for UK citizens travelling to France, click here. Citizens of other nations will also find it useful, but should always check their appropriate local agency.

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

This route features the following characteristics and interests: Coast, Mountains, Villages and farms, Drive to route

Things you should know

  • Some of the accommodation is very simple (though Sospel and Menton accommodation is stylish).
  • Be aware that some days are quite long, though shortening options are available.
  • Some paths are quite rocky underfoot, with steep climbs and descents on loose material.

We Recommend

Extra nights in Menton by the sea front, just to relax. Consider pairing this route with our Ligurian Hills route (4 hour transfer by train)

Eating and Drinking

Expect Tarte Brigueaise, 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).

If you fancy a real treat to end your holiday, you could try The Mirazur in Menton. Italian-Argentinian chef Mauro Colagreco draws on influences from both sides of the border, and his colourful dishes have earned three Michelin stars. You’ll need to book early…

How much Walking?

Full days: 12-21km per day, 4-7 hrs walking
Using shortening options: 9-14km per day, 3-5 hrs walking

Paths mainly marked, with numbered signposts, though careful attention to the route directions required; some steeper paths on days 2 and 5. Highest point on route: 1,050m. Some narrow paths with drops may worry the acrophobic.

Medium-hard/hard: Average cumulative uphill stretches (CUSs) 810m (500m-1220m) per day.

Medium: CUSs 490m (150m-920m) per day using shortening options where available (doing the Notre Dame des Fontaines option on Day 2, and doing the shorter Sospel Circuit).

Acrophobia/vertigo warnings: Potential issues on the Breil to Sospel day for the acrophobic.

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, June, September, October.

Other possible months: July, August (but please note that our hotel in Menton cannot accept one-night stays between mid-July and mid-August).

Enjoy the Alpes Maritimes particularly in late April and May for the spring flowers and in September and to the first part of October for the warm seas. You can also walk throughout the summer as the mountain air is cooling though, as you near the coast, the temperature rises.  If you have a real yen to be in the area in the earlier spring or after mid October, we would suggest 2 or 3 nights in Sospel, using the train back to Breil to complete some of the walking. Do talk with us!

Wednesday starts are not possible, as our hotel in La Brigue does not accept check-in on Wednesday.

Please note that during the Monaco Grand Prix in mid/late May, the hotels we use in Menton are fully booked, and we cannot therefore offer the route for dates which would end around this time (see calendar).

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.

Those arriving early at La Brigue will have the opportunity to do one of our circular walks from the village.

Day 2 - Tende Circuit or Notre Dame des Fontaines circuit

Today there is a choice of two circular walks. Either try the Tende Circuit: Over the hill to the old town to get lost in its maze of medieval alleys (Medium: 4½ hrs walking (allow 6 hrs), 11¾ km (7½ miles), CUSs 790m), or a shorter stroll to Notre Dame des Fontaines and a splendid chapel with well-restored frescoes (Easy: 3 hrs walking (allow 4 hrs), 9 km (5½ miles), CUSs 400m).

Day 3 - La Brigue to Saorge

A steep 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 a short climb to Saorge.  (Hard: 7 hrs walking (allow 9¼ hrs), 21 km (13 miles), CUSs 1220m)

Alternative shorter option: Medium-hard: 5½ hrs walking (allow 7¼ hrs), 18¾ km (11½ miles), CUSs 920m.

Both options can be shortened further with use of a bus. (Shortest option: 4hrs walking (allow 5¼hrs), 13¾km (8½ miles), CUSs 510m).

Day 4 - Saorge to Breil

Follow the GR52a via a substantial climb on generally good paths before descending again. The route then follows the valley floor before climbing above La Giandola and descending more gently into Breil. (Longer version: 6 hrs walking (allow 8 hrs), 12½ km (8 miles), CUSs 1050m; Alternative shorter version: 3½ hrs walking (allow 4¾ hrs), 9 km (5½ miles), CUSs 500m)

Day 5 - Breil to Sospel

Up onto the valley sides again and onto a glorious narrow path 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: 5 hrs (allow 6¾ hrs), 14 km (9 miles), CUSs 500m)

Day 6 - Sospel

A choice of two walks today. Our shorter option gives you ample time to explore the medieval town of Sospel, using your ‘Secret Sospel’ booklet. This was written around 25 years ago, and while somewhat dated, is still the best guide available. Our longer circuit is for more seasoned walkers and includes a 400m steep climb, which is not for the faint hearted, but allows the walker the opportunity to enjoy some excellent views from the Col du Pérus. Both options include Mont Agaisen, an example of the fortifications built between the two wars as a southerly extension to the Maginot Line. Longer Circuit (4¾ hrs walking (allow 6¼ hrs), 15 km (9½ miles), CUSs 730m), Shorter Circuit (2½ hrs walking (allow 3 hrs), 9¼ km (6 miles), CUSs 430m)

Day 7 - Sospel to Menton

Your final walking day starts with a taxi ride to Col de Castillon from where a delightful climb through woodland will take you to Baisse du Loup before descending to Ste Agnes. After a stroll through the medieval alleys of St Agnes, follow the old mule track down to Menton. A shorter and easier version is possible following the track from Col de Castillon, joining the long route just before St Agnes (Medium: 5¼ hrs (allow 7 hrs), 15½ km (9½ miles), CUSs 550m). (Shorter version: Easy: 3¾ hrs (allow 5 hrs), 12 km (7½ miles), CUSs 150m)

Final day

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

Travel Information

ARRIVING BY TRAIN

Nearest railway station:
Start: La Brigue
Finish: Menton

Sample journey by rail:

Via Paris: TGV from Paris Gare de Lyon to Nice and local train from there to La Brigue ~9 hrs.

Menton to Paris: Direct TGV to Paris Gare de Lyon ~8 hrs.

We suggest thetrainline.com for times, ticket booking and other information.

ARRIVING BY CAR

Parking in La Brigue is on the public street but close to the hotel in a quiet village square.  You can leave your keys with our host at the Fleur des Alpes.  Return by direct bus after your final night in Menton.

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 (~1½ hrs) – later arrivals possible with train/short taxi OR stay a night in Nice if arriving late (see Where you’ll stay and Prices)

Return flight earliest: 10:00 for airport bus service from Menton (~1 hr) – limited service, but other bus/train combinations available.

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.

 

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 also suggested for Nice airport below.

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)

NICE AIRPORT:
Outward: Tram then train: 3½ hrs. Allow 1½ hrs from touchdown at Nice airport to train departure time from Nice-Ville. Flight arrivals after 13:00 may require train to Breil then taxi. For train times (Nice-Ville to La Brigue) on your day of arrival check the website: en.oui.sncf/en OR stay a night at the beginning in Nice for a more relaxed start.
Return: Train Menton/Nice then 2-stop tram to airport (~1 hrs), or airport bus from outside hotel (1-1¼ hrs), OR taxi the whole way from Menton hotel to Nice airport (40 mins) – only bookable direct with your hotel.

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. In Saorge our chambres d’hotes has rooms with beautiful views over the valley. Our pension in Breil has recently been refurbished and the chambres d’hotes we have selected in Sospel are charming, with excellent locally sourced food, friendly hosts and good rooms. Finally, your beachfront hotel in Menton 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.

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

Night 1 & 2

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

Family-run restaurant with simple rooms. Charming welcome and excellent menu.

Saorge – Ca’Da Barrera (dinner, B&B)

Night 3

Saorge – Ca’Da Barrera (dinner, B&B)

Simple but comfortable chambre d'hotes with valley views and home-cooked dinner.

Breil – La Bonne Auberge (dinner, B&B)

Night 4

Breil – La Bonne Auberge (dinner, B&B)

Popular auberge in heart of town with excellent restaurant.

Sospel – Les Iris (dinner, B&B)

Night 5 & 6

Sospel – Les Iris (dinner, B&B)

A chambre d'hotes with valley views and a pool. Two-night stays only, so alternative accommodation used for shorter options.

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.

Prices

Price: from £1135 for 7 nights

Total 7 nights in double/twin room, all breakfasts, 4 picnics and 5 evening meals, luggage transfers between all hotels on walking route; full Walkers Pack with route directions, maps, transfer and background information; local telephone support.

All prices are per person unless otherwise indicated, and are based on a standard booking in May. Prices may vary seasonally and a fixed price will be given to you before you commit.

Single Room Supplement (SRS): From £245
Lone Traveller Additional Supplement (LTAS) From £270
Large Party Saving (LPS): Groups of more than 2 people (on an identical itinerary, on the same booking and booked at the same time) – discount of at least £40 per person
Maximum party size: 8

 

Add Ons

Extra nights possible throughout the route: Contact On Foot for ideas and prices
Further night/s in Menton at end: Prices vary with season and room type. Contact us

Taxi from Breil to La Brigue: From £60

Sending Walkers Packs to addresses outside the UK:  £20-£60 (per pack, location dependent)

Reserve your dates Add to shortlist
Richard Petitjean

Our local team

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.

Sign up to our Newsletter

    Email Me
    Route PDF

      Yes
      * I have read and agreed your privacy policy. (On Foot Holidays guards your details carefully, and will never sell them to a third party.)
      Yes
      Please put me on your Email list to receive your regular newsletter with news from On Foot Holidays including new routes, changes to existing ones and offers.

      Thank you!

      Thank you for contacting us. We will respond within the next working day.